India bagged their first-ever medal in the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships 2022 on Friday, winning a bronze medal in the women’s 20km race walking team competition. This is India’s first medal in the 61-year history of the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships.
The Indian team of Bhawna Jat, Ravina and Munita Prajapati finished third behind China and Greece to win the bronze medal. Lithuania finished fourth in the standings.
Ravina produced the best finish by an Indian in the women’s 20km event at Muscat, with 14th place in 1:40:22. The experienced Bhawna Jat was 21st with a time of 1:43:08 and 20-year-old Munita Prajapati finished 26th at 1:45:03.
Earlier in the day, India’s top U20 men’s race walker Amit Khatri suffered heartbreak when he was disqualified with four red cards, when in sight of a dramatic victory in U20 men’s 10km race.
Lying third behind two Chinese walkers at the start of the final kilometre, the 18-year-old stepped up the pace and shot into the lead. However, he also picked up three red cards in addition to the one shown to him earlier. It left him gutted, disbelief on his face as he was so close to winning a second medal on the world stage in six months.
If he had only three red cards in the race, Amit would have earned a top-five finish with a one-minute stay in the penalty zone, the Athletics Federation of India informed in a release on Friday.
Despite the disqualification, Amit will have learnt lessons and drawn heart from how he moved up from 10th place after the opening kilometre and 11th place among a tight group of walkers at the halfway stage.
Reshma Patel finished 23rd in the U20 women’s 10km event in 53 minutes 10 seconds after doing well to stay with the leaders over the first 4km. The two yellow paddles from judges in the 3rd kilometre did not slow her down but the leaders pulled away from her after she got the first of her red cards just before the halfway mark.
The 17-year-old from Dehradun dropped more positions even before she was given a one-minute stop at the penalty zone for having drawn her third red card in the 9th kilometre.