The Tokyo Olympics 2021 has been quite lucky for India. While there were certain surprises, there were certain disappointments as well. One of the disappointments was Gurpreet Singh who was unable to complete his 50 km walk race and gave up at 35 km. The event took place in Odori Park in Sapporo. The temperatures were around 25 degrees Celsius when the event started at 5:30 am (local time). However, it was found rising to above 30 degrees Celsius when it ended at 9:00 am (local time). The humidity was very high at that time, near about 80 percent.
As it was a walk event, there was no one fighting anyone else. It was just a matter of who finished first, second, and third. In this race, there were many participants, including Gurpreet Singh of India. Fifty-nine athletes started but twelve of them either did not finish or were disqualified. Dawid Tomala of Poland won the gold with a time of 3:50:08, while Jonathan Hilbert of Germany came in second to win the silver at a time record of 3:50:44 and Evan Dunfee of Canada took the bronze with a time record of 3:50:59.
Gurpreet has a personal best of 3:59:42 which he had clocked while walking and winning gold during the National Open Race Walk Championships in February. But in the Tokyo Olympics, Gurpreet Singh failed to finish the 50 km at the race walk event and sat down after 35 km thereby giving up due to cramps in the hot and humid conditions on Friday morning. This 37-year old lad was one of the lowest-ranked athletes in the event. He was the 51st candidate at the 35 km mark taking a time of 2 hours 55 minutes and 19 seconds and dropped out just after that. At halfway point of 25 km, Gurpreet was in the 49th position with a time record of 2 hours 1 minute and 54 seconds. But then, the extreme heat and rising humidity took a heavy toll on his body. Before quitting, he was seen slowing down considerably and sitting on the sidelines after the 35 km mark but did not seem to be in much trouble. Later the doctors of the medical team of the race reported that he could not continue his walk due to the cramps that he developed while walking before.
Even in the 20 km walk event, which took place on Thursday (August 5), India’s KT Irfan, Sandeep Kumar, and Rahul Rohilla disappointed the country extremely because none of them came even in the top ten. Sandeep finished 23rd with a time of 1:25:07, Rahul came 47th with a time of 1:32:06 and Irfan came 52nd with a time of 1:34:41. Massimo Stano of Italy won the gold, Japan’s Koki Ikeda clung onto the silver while his competitor Toshikazu Yamanishi settled for the bronze.