NEW DELHI: Son of a daily wager, Irfan Kolothum Thodi on Sunday became the first Indian from athletics to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The 29-year-old national record holder began the new season on a confident and clocked 1 hour 20 minutes and 57 seconds in the 20-Km walk to attain the qualification standard of 1 hour 21 minutes for the Tokyo Olympics.
Irfan was trailing the top bunch but picked up speed in the final kilometre and made the cut after finishing fourth at the Asian Race Walking Championship at Nomi in Japan.
This will be Irfan’s second Olympics after he represented the country for the London 2012 Olympics in the 20 km walk event.
The race walker, who comes from a humble background in Kerala was sent back home for breaching no-needle policy during the last year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
Two other Indians, Devinder Singh and Ganapathi Krishnan, who clocked 1:21.22 and Ganapati (1:22.12) also qualified for the World Championships.