21 March 2016 Current Affairs: Gurmeet Singh created history by becoming the first Indian athlete to clinch a gold medal in the Asian 20km Race Walk Championships as he won the men’s event with his season’s best effort. The 30-year-old Gurmeet clocked 1 hour 20 minutes and 29 seconds. He beat Japan’s Isamu Fujisawa (1:20:49) in a close fight in the last 5km. Kazakhstan’s Georgiy Sheiko won the bronze medal in 1:21:52.Gurmeet’s feat was the first time in 34 years that an Indian has won a gold in either an Asian Championships or Asian Games in this event.Hakam Singh and Chand Ram won a gold each in 20km road walk in 1978 and 1982 Asian Games respectively. Since then, no Indian has won a gold at the continental level in this event.Gurmeet was also sixth time lucky as he finally stood atop the podium after winning a silver and two bronze medals in his earlier five attempts in this championships.He finished seventh in his first appearance in 2011, silver in 2012, a bronze each in 2013 and 2014 and ninth last year.In the women’s 20km walk race event, National Games champion and Rio Games-bound Sapna finished fourth in a time of 1:35:57. China’s Rui Liang won the gold in 1:28:43 while Kumiko Okada of Japan (1:30:03) and South Korean Jeongeun Lee (1:33:53) took the silver and bronze respectively. National record holder and Rio Olympics bound athlete Khushbir Kaur, who won a bronze medal in the women’s race here two years ago, withdrew from this year’s competitions due to injury.
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