Gopi Thonakal made it to the World Athletics Championships, which will be held in Doha in September-October, after finishing 11th in the Seoul International Marathon.
Gopi Thonakal ran his personal best timing to qualify for World Athletics Championships Doha. (Getty Images)
- Gopi Thonakal finished 11th in Seoul International Marathon to qualify for World Athletics Championships
- Thonakal clocked his personal best 2 hours 13 minutes 39 seconds
- Seoul International Marathon is a world class IAAF Gold label event
India’s Asian marathon champion Gopi Thonakal has qualified for the World Athletics Championships to be held in Doha in September-October after finishing 11th in the Seoul International Marathon.
The 30-year-old Gopi clocked his personal best time of 2 hours 13 minutes 39 seconds in the marathon race on Sunday, bettering the World Championships qualification mark of 2:16:00. His earlier best was 2:15:16 last year.
Gopi’s time is the second best ever by an Indian after the four-decade old national record of 2:12:00, which is held by Shivnath Singh.
Seoul International Marathon is a world class IAAF Gold label event.
Gopi won the Asian marathon title in Dongguan, China in 2017. He finished 25th in the 2016 Olympics. The following year, he took part in the World Championships in London and finished 28th.
National record holder KT Irfan Sunday became the first Indian from athletics to qualify for the next year’s Olympics while finishing fourth in the 20 km event of the Asian Race Walking Championships in Nomi, Japan.
The 29-year-old Irfan clocked 1 hour 20 minutes and 57 seconds to better the Tokyo Olympics qualification standard of 1 hour 21 minutes.
No other Indian from athletics has so far qualified for Tokyo Olympics.
Two other Indians, Devinder Singh and Ganapathi Krishnan also qualified for the World Championships as they clocked 1:21:22 and 1:22:12 respectively. They had finished second and fifth in the Chennai National Race Walk Championships with timings of 1:26:19 and 1:26:43.
In the women’s 20 km race walk event, Soumya Baby finished fourth with a timing of 1:36:08, well outside Olympics qualifying standard of 1:31:00 and World Championships qualifying standard of 1:33:30.