first_imgIt was more or less a satisfying start for the Indian athletes in London with two of them – Irfan KT and Krishna Poonia – both finishing in the top 10 in their respective events.This is the first time that two Indian track and field athletes have finished in the top 10 at the Olympics and I expect Vikas Gowda to join them soon.In the 20km walk on Saturday, Irfan’s 10th place finish was a huge achievement not only for himself but also for the sport.His feat is likely to raise the profile of longdistance running and walking in India.Finishing the race in one hour, 20 minutes and 21 seconds was a creditable effort by Irfan, and by far the best performance by an Indian walker at the Olympics, although Zora Singh did manage an eighth-place finish way back in 1960 at the Rome Olympics.Irfan has proved that he is a world-class athlete, although the other two walkers – Gurmeet Singh and Baljinder Singh – failed to make their mark. Irfan was in the leading pack from the start and it proves that he is capable of challenging the top walkers of the world.While there was improvement from Irfan, Seema Antil in the discus throw proved unlucky as she failed to qualify for the finals, missing the cut by one position. She finished 13th in the qualifying round and the top-12 throwers made it to the next stage.For Krishna Poonia, the effort in the finals, where her best throw was recorded at 63.62m, was mediocre, although she deserves every accolade for her seventhplace finish in a tough field.advertisementHowever, our women discus throwers have to constantly throw around 67m if they are to earn laurels at world-class competitions.Krishna hardly improved upon her qualifying effort of 63.54m in the finals, but variations are always there. Nevertheless, I must congratulate her as she has proudly earned the title of an Olympic finalist.Focusing our attention on Monday’s qualification round in the men’s discus, we will be seeing Vikas in action. He has been a consistent performer and his latest training stint under former world champion John Godina has made a substantial difference in his performance this year.If Vikas manages to cross the 65m mark, it will be an achievement for him and I expect him to qualify for Tuesday’s finals. If he does qualify – and hopefully, he would – I expect him to finish in the top six.(The writer is an Asian Games gold medallist and a finalist at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics)last_img

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