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Chennai is all set to host an international invitational event that will provide Indian racewalkers with the chance to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, PTI reported. The event will take place on Feb 15 and Feb 16 according to the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) calendar. It will feature some of India’s top competitors in addition to a few international athletes.
This event will give the opportunity for athletes to make the cut for Tokyo 2020 as well as the upcoming World Championships in Doha later this year for both the 20km and the 50km event.
The idea behind this is that Racewalking is reportedly being considered a distinct medal possibility come 2020. That is what AFI Secretary CK Valson was quoted as saying in a press release issued by the Federation.
“We have identified racewalking as one of the events that could fetch us a medal at the Olympics,” he said. “Moreover, Asian countries like China and Japan are some of the best countries in Racewalking. With our athletes competing with them, it will improve their timings. I hope a few Indians qualify from this event here.”
There will be prize money involved for the winners of the events but the exact amount is yet to be announced. Apart from the two main events, there will be three more added events- the U20 20km for boys and girls, the National 50km Championship for men and the U18 Boys and Girls 10km walk.
The biggest names in Indian racewalking like KT Irfan, Eknath Sambhaji, Manish Singh Rawat, Sandeep Kumar, Shanti Kumari and Soumya Baby are all expected to participate. On the international front, it will see participation from second-rung athletes from China, Japan, Korea and Australia.
International and U20 events will be held on day 1 which is February 16. The Senior Men’s Nationals will take place the next day on the 17th.