Nitendra Singh Rawat’s Tokyo 2020 chances up in the air

With a number of events being cancelled, the Indian marathon runner doesn’t see himself making the Olympic cut in time.

By Naveen Peter ·

The 2016 Rio Olympian and one of India’s leading long-distance runners Nitendra Singh Rawat has serious doubts about his participation at Tokyo 2020 as things currently stand.

This is after the World Athletics races that the Indian was targeting to make the Olympic cut have been suspended following the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to the Olympic Channel from his training base in Pune, the 33-year-old said the chances of him making the Olympic cut appear all but over given the prevailing situation around the world.

“Initially, we were looking at Seoul (marathon) then that was cancelled. Now even the London marathon is cancelled,” he pointed out.

“I don’t see how we can even attempt to qualify for the Games. Ab toh Olympics qualification na hi hai (There are no Olympic qualification races available for me to take part),” he said.

While a knee injury kept the 33-year-old Nitendra Singh Rawat out for the majority of the 2019 season, the Indian marathon runner was looking forward to the Olympic year to get back into his groove and qualify for what would have been his second Games at Tokyo 2020.

Nitendra Singh Rawat lost the majority of 2019 to a knee injury. Photo: TMM Media

“Initially, the injury took a few months of my preparations and now when I am back to training, it’s the coronavirus.” a concerned Rawat said.

“Everything’s up in the air. The situation is so that we can’t even plan for the upcoming months. The races are either getting cancelled or postponed and the last date for qualification is also inching closer.”

While an athlete can make the Olympic cut by either achieving the qualifying standards or based on his World Athletics World Rankings as on July 1, 2020, Nitendra Singh Rawat’s time away from the discipline has seen him drop down the pecking order on the rankings chart as well.

Meanwhile, T Gopi, who became the first Indian to win the Asian Marathon Championships in 2017 and Sudha Singh lead the Indian race to qualify for the 2020 Olympics based on their World Athletics World Rankings.

T Gopi was last seen in action at the 2019 World Athletics Championships where he managed a timing of 2:15:57 while Sudha Singh won the 2020 edition of the Mumbai marathon with a run that saw her clock 2:45:30 for the title among the Indian elite.