Irfan KT made the whole country proud after he became the first Indian athlete to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after he finished fourth at the Asian Race Walking championship in Nomi, Japan.
The Kerala-based athlete clocked 1:20.57 in the 20km walking race and made a real case for himself as the successful athlete. He set the standard mark for qualifying (1 hour 21 minutes) for the next Olympics.
“? Breaking from #Japan- Irfant KT qualifies for Tokyo 2020 & IAAF World Championships 2019. Irfan finished fourth with the timing of 1:20.57 at #Asian RW Championships. Devinder-1:21.22 (WC Qualified) Ganapati- 1:22.12 (WC Qualified),” Athletics Federation of India tweeted.
His fourth-place finish also means that he bagged a place in the upcoming IAAF World Championship, which is expected to take place from September end in Doha.
Olympic qualification for walk events and marathon started from January 1 this year and will continue till May 31, 2020. By far, no other Indian athlete has managed to qualify for the Tokyo event.
The champion holds a national record of 1:20:21, which he had set a record in the 2012 Olympics in London. Previously, in February this year, he set 1:26:18 to clinch the 20km walk race event in the National Open Race Walk Championships in Chennai.
Digging a bit deep about Irfan, it will be his second ever Olympics appearance as previously in 2018, he was suspended from the Commonwealth Games along with Rakesh Babu for breaching the ‘no needle’ policy in the wake of the discovery of a syringe by a cleaner in their room in Gold Coast.