India's campaign in athletics continued to remain uninspiring as race walkers — Sandeep Kumar and Khushbir Kaur — finished way below their career best timings at their respective events at the Rio Olympic Games here. Sapana Punia, meanwhile, failed to finish her race.
Sandeep Kumar finished a lowly 34th in the men's 50km Race Walk event at the Rio Olympic Games on Friday. The 30-year-old clocked 4 hours 7 minutes and 55 seconds, which was 26:57 behind the gold medallist Matej Toth of Slovakia. At the half-way mark, Sandeep was 48th with a time of 1:59:13, which was 9:42 behind the leader.
World champion Toth managed to beat 2012 London Olympic gold medallist Jared Tallent of Australia into second place with a time of 3:40:58. Toth, 33, moved past the Australian in the latter stages of a race. The Australian racer ended clocking 3:41:16. Canada's Evan Dunfee (3:41:38) settled with a bronze.
In Women's 20km Race Walk, Khushbir Kaur finished 54th while Sapana did not finish the race. Khushbir clocked one hour 40 minutes and 33 seconds to complete the race.
23-year-old girl from Amritsar became the first Indian woman to clinch 20km Race Walk silver medal at the Incheon Asian Games in 2014 by bettering her personal best and setting a new national record.
She clocked 1:33:07 to improve on her previous personal best of 1:33:37, which was also the national record to bag the second position. But Khushbir was way behind her personal best on Friday, and finished 11:58 behind the gold medallist Liu Hong of China. At the half-way mark, Khushbir was 48th with a time of 47:35. At that stage, she was 2:11 behind the leader.
Hong clocked 1:28:35 to win the gold, while silver medal was bagged by Mexico's Maria Guadalupe Gonzalez (1:28:37) and China's Lu Xiuzhi clinched the bronze with a time of 1:28:42. Meanwhile, Sapna Punia retired after 8 kms, having clocked 37:44.