Sandeep Kumar, a subedar in the Indian army had clocked an impressive 1:25:07 at the Tokyo Olympics. Earlier this year he took the national record of 1:20:16 in February to qualify for the Olympics in the National Open Race Walk Championship that was held in Ranchi.
Sandeep had a very good start to the 20km walk race final as he and China’s Wang Kihua broke away from the rest of the participants very early on creating a gap of about 40-50 from the rest of the group. However, this gap didn’t last for long. After the 9 kilometre mark, the trailing group had caught up to the Indian.
📸Reuters / Kim Hong-ji pic.twitter.com/KchB7Tbrq5
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The conditions on the streets of Tokyo didn’t help him either as we saw Sandeep falling down the order after each kilometre. The 25-year-old ended up finishing 23rd along with his compatriots, Rahul Rohilla (1:32:06) and KT Irfan (1:34:41) finishing 47th and 51st respectively.
The 2012 London Olympics was Sandeep’s first-ever Olympics appearance where he participated in the 50km race walk event. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, he shifted to the 20km race walk where he finished 35th. Tokyo was Sandeep’s third Olympic participation. The reason for Sandeep to shifted from the 50km race walk to the 20km event was due to it no longer being an Olympic event from the next edition.