Gurmeet moves to 50km

India's ace 20km race walker Gurmeet Singh has decided to shift to 50km event from next year.

The 31-year-old, who is the current Indian record holder in the 20 km race walk, revealed he was suggested by Russian coach Alexander Artsybashev to make the shift. He had earlier discussed the move with national race walking coach Ramakrishnan Gandhi, but his sudden demise due to cardiac arrest left Gurmeet shaken, forcing him to shelve his plans.

“I was thinking for some time to shift to 50 km walk and had discussed it with Gandhi sir too. He also agreed that it would be the right step. But then he suddenly passed away, and it took me sometime to come to terms with his death. People leaving their coaches or vice-versa is normal, but this was too shocking. I had learned a lot from him, he was a great man, and we had a plan for the future. His death affected me deeply,” Gurmeet told Decccan Herald.

"I then started training with Alexander, and he suggested I should take up the 50km event. He has a strategy in mind. I had always worked with Gandhi sir, but Alexander has been understanding. We have been able to make things work.”

Gurmeet, who had become the first Indian athlete to clinch a gold medal in the Asian 20km race walk championships by clocking one hour 20 minutes and 29 seconds last year, would be seen competing the 50 km event by next year.

“Most likely I will should be ready by February next year. As for the 20km event, I don't see myself participating this year. The focus is completely on 50km. It is a challenging event, and it will take me some time to be ready to compete. Hopefully, it will go well,” said Gurmeet, who has dreams of opening a race walking academy with wife Deepmala Devi, also a 20km walker.

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