Bhawana Jat of Rajasthan pulled off a shock win in the 20km race walk event of the ongoing National Championships in Ranchi on Saturday setting a new record in the process.Also Read - Two Paralympians From Rajasthan Nominated For Khel Ratna
Bhawana, 23, clocked 1 hour 29 minutes and 54 seconds to win the gold, which is well inside the Olympic qualification time of 1:31:00. Also Read - Neeraj Chopra, Ravi Dahiya, Lovlina Borgohain Among 11 Recommended For Khel Ratna Award
“It’s a dream come true,” Bhawana told PTI. “I was doing in the range of 1:27:00s during training and so I knew that if the conditions are all right I would be able to breach this Olympic qualifying mark of 1:31:00s,” Also Read - India Look Forward to be in Top Five Medal Winners in 2022 International Events: IOA
Bhawna hails from a poor farmer’s family in Kabra Village of Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district. She currently works as a Train Ticket Examiner in Indian Railways, posted in Kolkata.
“It was pure hard work in the last few months with my coach that I am being able to come up with this kind of performance,” she said.
The timing was a significant improvement of her previous personal best at the National Open Championships last year when she recorded 1:38.30s.
She trains on her own in Jaipur with coach Gurmukh Sihag and has never participated at any international event. Her next competition will be the Asian Race Walk Championships in Japan on March 15.
In the men’s event, Sandeep Kumar of Services won the gold with a time of 1 hour 21 minutes and 34 seconds but narrowly missed the Tokyo Olympics qualification time of 1:21:00s. “I will try to further improve my timing if selected for the Asian Race Walk Championships next month in Japan and try to qualify for Tokyo Olympics,” Sandeep said.