Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.
India’s campaign in athletics continued to remain uninspiring as race walkers — Sandeep Kumar and Khushbir Kaur — finished way below their career best timings at their respective events at the Rio Olympic Games and Sapana Punia failed to finish her race.
While in women’s 20km Race Walk, Khushbir ended at 54th position. Even as Sapana had a ‘DNF’ tag against her name as she failed to cross the finish line.
In women’s 20km Race Walk, Khushbir clocked one hour 40 minutes and 33 seconds to complete the race. 23-year-old girl from Amritsar had become the first Indian woman to clinch 20km Race Walk silver medal at the Incheon Asian Games in 2014 by bettering her personal best and setting a new national record.
She had clocked 1:33:07 to improve on her previous personal best of 1:33:37, which was also the national record to bag the second position.
But Khushbir was way behind her personal best and finished 11:58 behind the gold medallist — Liu Hong of China. At the half-way mark, Khushbir was 48th with a time of 47:35. At that stage, she was 2:11 behind the leader.
Hong clocked 1:28:35 to win the gold, while silver medal was bagged by Mexico’s Maria Guadalupe Gonzalez (1:28:37) and China’s Lu Xiuzhi clinched the bronze with a time of 1:28:42.
However, Sapana retired after 8 kms, having clocked 37:44.