Indian Race Walkers Aim for Podium Finish and Paris Olympics Berths at World Championships in Antalya

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The Indian athletics scene is buzzing with excitement as the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) unveiled a 14-member squad for the upcoming World Race Walking Team Championships in Antalya, Turkey.

Set to begin on April 21st, the event offers a crucial platform for Indian race walkers to not only challenge for podium finishes but also secure coveted berths at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Leading the Indian charge will be a trio of seasoned campaigners – Ram Baboo, Akshdeep Singh, and Priyanka Goswami. Their experience and proven track record is expected to inspire and guide the younger members of the squad.

The focus will be on excelling in multiple categories, with a particular emphasis on the mixed relay race walking event. This relatively new Olympic qualifying format offers a golden opportunity for the top 22 finishers to book their tickets directly to Paris.

India has already secured four race walking spots for the Olympics (three in the men’s category and one in the women’s), but the mixed relay team presents a chance to add another quota and bolster the nation’s presence at the Games.

The Men’s and Women’s 20km race walk events will witness India fielding a strong contingent. Promising athletes like Suraj Panwar, Vikas Singh, and Arshpreet Singh will be vying to not only impress on the world stage but also stake their claim for a coveted spot in the final Olympic selection.

A Selection Headache

However, a selection headache awaits the AFI for the men’s race walking category at the Olympics, as only three athletes can represent India. The final selection will be made in June, leaving the upcoming competition as a crucial proving ground for these talented race walkers.

Adding a touch of novelty to the competition is the debut of the Mixed Relay Marathon race walk event. This format replaces the previously contested 35km individual race walk, offering a fresh challenge and strategic team dynamics to the competition.

The Indian contingent boasts a well-rounded mix of experience and youthful talent, with each athlete determined to leave their mark in Antalya. The eyes of the nation will be on them as they strive to secure podium finishes, valuable Olympic qualifications, and most importantly, etch their names in the annals of Indian athletics history.

Written By Ishant Garg

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