Having already secured a spot in the Paris 2024 Olympics, Akshdeep Singh from Punjab not only defended his men’s 20km title but also broke his own national record during Tuesday’s National Open Race Walking competition. Akshdeep, who had qualified for this year’s Olympics by winning the 2023 edition of the same competition in Ranchi, completed the race in an impressive one hour, 19 minutes, and 38 seconds, surpassing his previous national record of 1:19:55s.
On Tuesday morning, Akshdeep Singh from Punjab set a new national record in the 20Km race walk, completing it in 1 hour, 19 minutes, and 38 seconds, surpassing his previous record of 1:19.55. Notably, it was a remarkable day for Indian race walkers, as three others—Suraj Panwar from Uttarakhand (1:19:44s), Servin Sebastian from Tamil Nadu (1:20:03s), and Arshpreet Singh from Punjab (1:20:04s)—also achieved the Olympic qualifying standard during the 11th National Open Race Walking Championship. They all outpaced the required mark of 1:20:10s.
Akshdeep’s perspective on this is as follows-
“The shared joy in each other’s achievements is palpable, and witnessing Suraj, Servin, and Arshpreet meet the Paris Olympics standard today is truly inspiring. The 20 Km race walk demands strategic prowess, and I am pleased that my tactics aligned well today, allowing me to surpass my national record.”
A total of six race walkers have successfully attained the qualifying standard for the Paris Olympics. Vikash Singh and Paramjeet Malik also secured their eligibility for the Olympics during the All Japan Race Walking Championship in 2023.
A fortuitous visit to Patiala introduced him to Gurdev Singh, the coach of KT Irfan, who finished 10th in the London Olympics. In the ensuing years, he emerged as the junior national record holder. Following his attainment of the Paris qualification standard in Ranchi the previous year, he secured a 12th place in the Asian Championships in Japan. However, his performance in the World Championships in Budapest saw him finish 47th. Unfortunately, during the Worlds, Akshdeep sustained a right knee injury, leading to his absence from the Hangzhou Asian Games.