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Indian Racewalkers: Can they be the underdogs in the 2012 London Olympics?
The article is about the Indian Racewalkers in the upcoming London Olympics 2012. It focuses on the athletes of India who have qualified for the Olympics this year in Race Walk; their records, recent achievements, certainities of winning, etc.
About the event:
In Race Walk or Racewalking events, athletes have to walk at a fast pace which is entirely different from running. The athlete's one foot must appear to be in contact, to human eye, with the ground at all times. It is different from the running events where both are feet off the ground for some moments. The front leg must be straight all the time i.e. it must be straight from the moment it is first in contact with the ground until the whole body passes over it.
Race Walk at London Olympics 2012:
- 4th of august 2012: 20km men race walk event.
- 11th of august 2012: 50km men race walk event.
- 11th of august 2012: 20km women race walk event.
The Race Walk events start and finish at The Mall. Athletes race over a 2km loop, taking them up The Mall towards Buckingham Palace, around the Victoria Memorial and up Constitution Hill towards Hyde Park Corner before returning to complete the loop. There are two events of racewalking 50km walk and 20km walk for men and only one event, 20km walk, for women. The athletes will have to take 25 loops for the 50km walk and 10 loops for 20km walk.
Breaking the rules:
There will be judges at some locations along the course to judge the athletes' technique. If a judge has doubt about any of them, they will warn the athlete by showing him/her a yellow paddle. If the athlete is completely not following the rules, the judge will show a red paddle. Three red paddles being shown by three different judges will lead to the athlete's disqualification.
The race walk events do not have any quarter or semi finals, they have the straight finals. The athlete crossing the finish line first will be the winner.
India in Racewalking at Olympics:
Only four men race walkers (one 50km and three 20km) have got the entry, no woman race walker from India got qualified.
- Basant Bahadur Rana:
He is the London Olympics 2012 qualifier of India in 50km race walk. He made a national record in 50 km walk (road) at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup Saransk, Russia in May 2012, clocking his personal best of 4:02:13.
- Baljinder Singh:
He belongs to Punjab and has earned a ticket for the London Olympics in 20km race walk, after finishing fifth in the Asian 20 km Race Walking championships, clocked 1:22:12. He won the Indian trials at Patiala on February 15 with a notable finish of 1:22:01.
- Gurmeet Singh:
He is also one of 20km race walk qualifier in Olympics this year. He belongs to Uttrakhand. He has shown his qualities since his age of 15 years. He won a silver in the national junior championships in 2000 and finished fifth in the 2001 Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Brunei. He has qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics in 20 km race walk event with an 'A' qualification standard, clocking 1:22:30. He achieved this opportunity in the 18th Dublin International Grand Prix in Ireland after finishing sixth with a time of 1:22:05.
His present highest records which are the present national records, are:
- He clocked 1:20:23(Track) at the 77th All-India Railway Championships, Bhuvaneshwar, India in Feb 2012.
- He clocked 1:20.35(Road) at the Indian Grand Prix I, Patiala, India in May 2011.
- Irfan Kolothum Thodi:
Irfan K. Thodi is the third qualifier in 20km race walk, came out with an outstanding performance in the recent Federation Cup at Patiala, clocking his personal best of 1:22:09. The 22-year-old from Kerala has been training at high altitude Madras Regimental Centre in Nilgiris.
There were some news regarding the lack of proper shoes with the participants (Basant Bahadur Rana and Irfan K Thodi) and no support to them by the Athletics Federation of India or the sports ministry in this context. The government has spent many crores in training the sports persons for Olympics but these talented athletes were left unnoticed. Still they are into the field without being discouraged and have themselves spent thousands on their shoes. The spirit of winning is still alive.
In the qualifying event of the London Olympics 2012, the men's 20km race walk team finished a remarkable fifth. It is an appreciable achievement of them as they competed with the top teams from around the World.
The recent performance of the Indian race walkers in various events has raised the hopes and expectations of getting a medal for the country. The team is really boosted due to the qualifying event. Hence, India may get atleast a bronze medal or even more if its luck favored. If they win then it would be a great achievement by Indians in athletics at Olympics after 112 years. Previously, Norman Pritchard had won two silver medals in 200 metres race and 200 metres hurdles at Paris Olympics in 1900.
The team this year has enormous capabilities. Gurmeet Singh can be a lucky charm for the nation as he has appreciable credentials. He has got good experience, hence can lead the Indian team towards success. Baljinder Singh and Irfan K. Thodi aren't even not much behind him. In previous Olympics, the Indian teams were not even able to qualify, but this time the team had a remarkable qualifying round, which can be taken as a sign of a better future. Let's hope for the best.
To know about the achievements of other Indian sportpersons and their certainties of winning gold in 2012 Olympics, refer to the following articles:
Aiming at the Bull's eye: The Indian shooting team at 2012 London Olympics.
Indian women power at the 2012 London Olympics.
Read related articles: Indian Racewalkers
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