Eyes on Amit Katri as Indians hope for success at top race walking event

Amit Khatri, a silver medallist in the World Athletics U20 Championships six months ago, will have his task cut out when he lines up against top opponents in the men’s 10km event in the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships starting here on Friday.

Amit, who set his personal best of 40 minutes 28 seconds in Ranchi two years ago, will have to contend with three Chinese who are the only ones with sub-40-minutes times over the distance. He will also see the familiar face of Kenya’s Heristone Wanyonyi Wafula, who edged him to the gold medal in the World Championships in Nairobi on August 2021.

Amit, who had to endure a suspenseful time over his visa because of his vaccination status before he could fly to Muscat, will relish the challenge of competing in the 45-man field at sea level. He faced breathing difficulties due to the altitude in Nairobi and ended up making frequent detours to the hydration table.

On Saturday, he will take the stage after Reshma Patel, India’s entry in the U20 women’s 10km race, makes her international debut. Reshma, the National U20 champion will be aiming to leave a strong impression. If she can improve her personal best time of 49:28, she could be close to securing a top 10 finish, the AFI said in a release on Thursday.

Having finished 32nd in the Olympic Games last year, Bhawna Jat will be aiming to find her best form that saw her clock a personal best of 1:29:54 in February 2020. Munita Prajapati will be making her senior international debut while Ravina will try to put to tests the experience of competing in the World Race Walking Team Championships in Taicang, China in May 2018.

On Saturday, Ram Baboo, Chandan Singh and Eknath Samhbaji Turambekar will compete in the men’s and Priyanka Goswami in the women’s newly-introduced 35km distance. Sandeep Kumar and Suraj Panwar will be part ‘f the men’s 20km field.

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