Amit Khatri won India its second medal at the ongoing World U20 Athletics Championships in Nairobi by claiming silver in the men’s 10,000 race walk event. Amit finished the race in an impressive time of 42 minutes and 17.94 seconds to finish second.
Amit became just the fifth Indian athlete to win a medal at the World U20 Athletics Championships. It was India’s first Worlds medal in the race walk event. This was medal No 6 in the history of the championships for India. The second silver after Seema Antil (discus) in 2002. Neeraj Chopra and Hima Das have won gold.
India’s medals at U20 World Athletics
|2002 – Jamaica||Seema Antil||Discus Throw Women||Silver||55.83m|
|2014 – USA||Navjeet Kaur Dhillon||Discus Throw Women||Bronze||56.36m|
|2016 – Poland||Neeraj Chopra||Javelin Throw Men||Gold||86.48m|
|2018 – Finland||Hima Das||400m Women||Gold||51.46s|
|2021 – Nairobi||Barath, Priya, Kapil and Summy||Mixed 4x400m||Bronze||3:20.60s|
|2021 – Nairobi||Amit Khatri||Men’s 10,000 race walk||Silver||42:17.94s|
“As it’s a high altitude, there was a breathing problem for me. It was my first international competition and I won silver for India. I’m happy with silver, at least I could fulfil the hopes of India,” Amit was quoted as saying by the Athletics Federation of India soon after the race.
Amit, who had the world-leading time of 40:40.97 this season, led the race with just one lap remaining but he decided to take a trip to the drinks table and that allowed Kenya’s Heristone Wanyonyi to take the lead, pull away and win the gold medal eventually.
Amit’s coach Chandan Singh said the Kenyan rival had the advantage as he knows the local high altitude conditions.
“I feel Amit could have won the gold but the high altitude conditions had affected him. The Kenyan was training in those home conditions and it was advantageous to him. Amit was leading for most part of the race but the Kenyan took a sudden lead with around one and half laps to go. Amit could not anticipate that and could not catch up him up,” Chandan told PTI from the Army Sports Institute in Pune.
Chandan, who has been with Amit since 2018, said he had put his ward for high altitude training for five months last year in Nainital and Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand after it became known that Nairobi will host the World U-20 Championships.
It was India’s second medal at the championships after the mixed 4×400 relay team won bronze earlier.
Later, India’s Baljeet Kaur finished seventh in the women’s 10,000 race walk final.
The 19-year-old started strongly and had a big lead in the early stages of the race, but she couldn’t hold on and was caught up by the chasing group. She seemed to be slowing down but picked up pace eventually to finish a creditable seventh in though conditions.
Coming into the race, Baljeet had a personal best of 49:50.71, but she improved that to 48:58.17 on Saturday.
In Heat 2 of the men’s 4×400 relay event, India finished last as Kenya took the top position. The Indian team of Chahal, Kapil, Sridhar and Cherankulangara Rasheed registered a season best timing of 3:10.62 but they finished sixth and didn’t qualify for the final.