Bhawna Jat broke the national record in the 20 km race walk event at the 7th National Race Walk Championships on Saturday. (Twitter/AFIIndia)
Bhawna Jat broke the national record in the 20 km race walk event at the 7th National Race Walk Championships in Ranchi on Saturday. The 24-year-old from Rajasthan also earned a berth in Tokyo 2020 by finishing the race ahead of the automatic Olympic qualification mark.
Big result in Women's 20km, Bhawna Jat of #Rajasthan clocks 1:29.54 (Olympic Qualification time- 1:31.00)
— Athletics Federation of India (@afiindia) February 15, 2020
The 24-year-old clocked 1:29.54, comfortably beating the Olympic qualification mark of 1:31.00 at the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) calendar event. No Indian woman had breached the 1:31.00 mark in the 20 km race walk event before Bhawna's performance on Saturday.
Bhawna's previous best in this category was 1:38.30, set in October last year. She has improved her personal best by almost 9 minutes. She has also bettered the previously existing national record by almost 2 minutes.
Bhawna will be following up on her sensational performance at the Nationals at the Asian Race Walking Championship next month.
First day of 3rd international and 7th open national race walk championship.
First day in 20 km girls Bhawna Jat qualified for Tokyo olympic 2020.
Congratulations.@HemantSorenJMM @JharkhandCMO @prdjharkhand @KirenRijiju @RijijuOffice @Media_SAI pic.twitter.com/2sCUnO0yP8
— JHARKHAND ATHLETICS ASSOCATION (@jaajharkhand) February 15, 2020
Bhawna, who currently trains on her own in Jaipur with her coach Gurmukh Sihag, has not taken part in any international event in junior or senior level. She also has never been in a national camp under the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).
"It's a dream come true. I was doing in the range of 1:27:00s during training and so I knew that if the conditions are all right I would be able to breach this Olympic qualifying mark of 1:31:00s," Bhawna who is currently a Train Ticket Examiner in Indian Railways, posted in Kolkata, told PTI.
"It was pure hard work in the last few months with my coach that I am being able to come up with this kind of performance," said Bhawna, who trains on the road around the Sawai Man Singh Satdium in Jaipur.
KT Irfan (men's 20km race walk), Avinash Sable (men's 3000m steeplechase), mixed 4x400m relay team and Neeraj Chopra (men's javelin) have already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics from athletics.
In the 2016 Olympics, India's Manish Rawat had lost out on the bronze medal by less than a minute in the 20 km race walk event.