India’s only representative in the gruelling 50km race walk event at the Tokyo Olympics, Gurpreet Singh, limped off around the 35km mark due to cramps on Friday.
Gurpreet, who started the race from 14th position in a field of 59 athletes, could not come to terms with the energy-sapping heat and humidity despite the race starting early morning on Friday. The temperatures soared o around 30 degrees C and humidity touched 70 per cent as Gurpreet, an army man, started losing ground.
At the eight-km mark, Gurpreet was 37th, just 0.37 seconds behind the race leader but dropped to 44th around the 10km milestone.
Gurpreet was 48th with a timing of 2:01:54 at the halfway mark, but after another 10km the oppressive conditions took a toll on the Indian and he suffered cramps.
He completed 35km in 2:55:19 before pulling out.
Poland’s Dawid Tomala led the majority of the race and completed the course in 3:50:08 to win gold.
Germany’s Jonathan Hilbert bagged silver with 3:50:44 while Canada’s Evan Dunfee claimed the bronze medal with a timing of 3:50:59.
Due to the difficult conditions, only 47 of the 59 starters finished the race and the time were considerably slower than the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Slovakia’s Matej Toth, who finished 14th at Tokyo, had won the gold in Rio de Janeiro, clocking 3:40:58.
The Olympic record in the event is 3:36:53, while the world record stands at 3:32:33.
Gurpreet, who had qualified for the Olympics based on his world ranking, had timed a personal best of 3:59:42 on way to winning gold at the national championships in Ranchi back in earlier this year.