Amit Khatri, who had been on a record-breaking spree in the national circuit this year, won the men’s 10,000m race walk silver after a brave effort at the World Athletics under-20 championships in Nairobi on Saturday.
The 17-year-old from Rohtak, the world’s fastest under-20 walker this year, held the lead for a good part of the race with host Kenya’s Heristone Wanyonyi hot on his heels. But the Indian had missed picking a bottle from the water table on a couple of occasions midway through the race and later appeared to go for too many ‘water breaks’ which perhaps cost him the gold. Wanyonyi won the title in 42:10.84s while Amit clocked 42:17.94 for India’s first-ever race walk medal in a World championship.
“I learnt a lot from this championships, got one warning also (during race). I will now work hard for Commonwealth Games and Asian Games next year,” news agency PTI quoted Amit as having said.
The 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou in China is expected to have 20km race walk event and Khatri’s personal coach has told PTI that his ward will start training for the event later this year to be able to compete in the national championship early next year.
But the 2022 Birmingham CWG will have 10000m (track event just like in this U20 World Championship) race walk event instead of 20km event.
Baljeet Kaur finished seventh with a personal best 48:58.17s in the women’s 10,000m walk where Mexico’s Sofia Ramos Rodrigues won the gold in 46:23.01s.
Later in the evening, Priya H. Mohan – who helped India win the mixed relay bronze a couple of days ago – went all out in the women’s 400m final and improved her personal best by more than half second, clocking 52.77s, but that could only fetch her the fourth place with Nigerian Imaobong Nse Uko winning the gold in 51.55s.
The Indian quartet of Abdul Razak, Sumit Chahal, Kapil and Bharath Sridhar finished last in its heat, and overall, in the men’s 4x400m relay in 3:10.62s while Rohan Gautam Kamble was seventh in the men’s 400m hurdles semifinal in 52.88s and crashed out.
Namibia’s Christine Mboma, the Olympic 200m silver medallist, and Beatrice Masilingi who were not allowed to run the quartermile in Tokyo because of their high testosterone levels, made it a fast one-two in the women’s 200m, the former even breaking the under-20 world record (21.84s). Frenchman Sasha Zhoya (110m hurdles, 12.72s new u-20 world record), Nigeria’s Udodi Chudi (men’s 200m, 20.21s), Botswana’s Anthony Pesela (men’s 400m, 44.58s), Ethiopia’s Ayal Dagnachew (women’s 800m, 2:02.96s), Kenya’s Vincent Kibet Keter (men’s 1500m, 3:37.24s), Israel’s Yonathan Kapitolnik (men’s high jump, 2.26m) and Jamaican Ackera Nugent (women’s 100m hurdles, 12.95s) were among other gold medallists on the championships’ penultimate day.(with inputs from PTI)