Race walker KT Irfan, who was the first track and field athlete from India to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, is determined not to let the postponement of the Games affect his focus.
The 30-year-old, in fact, feels that the Olympics being pushed back by a year will be beneficial since it offers athletes more time to prepare for the Tokyo Games.
"It's good that it got postponed. We can take this as a base to train more and get closer to win a medal,” KT Irfan told the Press Trust of India.
“Race walking is a technical event, so I will get time to focus on it more, this will help us do better next year," he stated.
After missing out on qualification for Rio 2016 and a 10th place finish with a time of 1 hour 20 minutes and 21 seconds – his personal best and the national record – at the 2012 London Games, the race walker from Kerala is eyeing a medal at the Tokyo Games next year.
Aiming to win a medal in Tokyo
"My main aim is to win a medal. In Rio, I had injured myself, in London also I had a chance of winning a medal,” KT Irfan revealed. "If I work harder there is a chance of getting a medal. I have mentally prepared myself and am strong with the aim of winning a medal."
Training under the prevailing circumstances as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be difficult for all athletes and KT Irfan is no different.
"There was a good place to train outside the campus where I used to train. But we aren't allowed to go outside the campus because of the lockdown," said KT Irfan, who is currently self-isolating in his hostel at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru.
"We have been asked to train alone and not in groups. We do skipping etc. in the room, and sometimes go out in the campus to practice the walk," he added.
KT Irfan qualified for Tokyo after finishing fourth in the men’s 20km race walking Asian meet. He finished with a time of 1 hour 20 minutes and 57 seconds, which is three seconds inside the qualification cut of 1 hour 21 minutes for the Olympics.