New Delhi: India’s top race walker Irfan Kolothun Thodi exuded confidence ahead of the 5th National Race Walking Championship to be held on Sunday. "I am well prepared for the Nationals. This year competition will be tough as it is an important year with two big competitions- CWG and Asian Games, " said Thodi, who will be representing Kerala in the competition. "I am in good shape. At World Championships in London in August 2017, my timing was 1:21.46. This year I am looking forward to 1:21.00 or less."
Thodi, who is currently training for the National Championship in Bengaluru, is also mindful of the prevailing weather in the National capital. "Training is going good in Bengaluru. I think temperature in Delhi will be a little cooler than Bengaluru and we will have a good competition,” added Thodi, who had achieved his best mark in 20 km race walk at 2012 London Olympics clocking 1:20:21.
Apart from Thodi, 80 of India’s best race-walkers in both men’s and women’s categories will vie for honours in the 20 km race, which will act as a qualification for both Commonwealth and Asian Games.
The Commonwealth Games is scheduled to be staged from April 4-15 at Gold Coast in Australia, while the Asiad will be held from August 18 to September 2 in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. The qualification benchmark for the Commonwealth Games has been pegged at 1:22:00 for Men, while for women it is set at 1:35:00. The qualification benchmark for the Asiad has been set at 1:22:00 for Men, while for women it is fixed at 1:34:54.
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) selection committee will announce the Indian team for the Asian 20km Race Walking Championship to be held in Nomi, Japan on March 18 at the back of this event. Besides Thodi, Manish Rawat has confirmed his participation among men, while Khushbir Kaur, Soumya B, Priyanka Kumari, Ravina, Shanty Kumary and Deepmala Devi will be seen in action among the women participants during the Rs 2 lakhs event.