Chennai, Feb 12 (PTI) An international invitational race walk event will be held here on February 16 and 17, featuring leading Indian athletes and some from foreign countries.

The meet provides an opportunity for the Indians to make the qualifying grade for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the World championships to be held in Doha from September 27 to October 6, 2019 for both the 20km and 50km disciplines, a press release said.

“We have identified race walking as one of the events which could fetch us a medal at the Olympics. Moreover, Asian countries like China and Japan are some of the top countries in race walking. With our athletes competing with them, it will improve their timings. I hope a few of them (Indians) qualify from this event here,” Athletics Federation of India Secretary C K Valson said in the release.

The event would feature top Indian athletes and second-rung walkers from China, Japan, Korea and Australia.

Three more events, apart from the International meet, will be held — Under-20 (20km) boys and girls and the National Championship (50km) only for men and under-18 boys and girls (10km).

The international and Under-20 events will be held on February 16, while the men’s Nationals will be on February 17.

There will be prize money for all the four events, the release said, adding the exact amount will be announced later.

Top Indian stars, including K T Irfan, Manish Singh Rawat, Eknath Sambhaji, Sandeep Kumar, Ravina, Soumya Baby and Shanti Kumari, are expected to participate in the event.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.