Priyanka Goswami brought home India’s third medal in athletics, bagging silver in the 10000 metres (10 km) race walk. Following Tejaswin Shankar’s bronze (in high jump) and Murali Shreeshankar’s silver (in long jump), the 26-year-old speed walker brought more joy to the track-and-field contingent. Setting a personal best of 43:38, she finished behind Australia’s Jemima Montag (at 42: 34) but ahead of Kenya’s Emily Wamusyi Ngii (43:50). It was also India’s 27th medal of the Commonwealth Games, giving further wind to India’s steady rise up the medals table.
Starting well, she marched into a lead, keeping ahead of the chasing pack till the 4000-metre (4 km) mark. Overtaken twice over, first by Montag and then by Emily Ngii, she looked set for bronze. But a late burst- starting from the 8000-metre (8 km) mark, helped her past the Kenyan and into second place. Whilst her first Commonwealth medal, Goswami’s silver is India’s third medal in walking events across the history of the Games. In the 2010 edition held in Delhi, Kavita Raut won India its first medal in race walking, winning bronze in the 10000-metre event in front of a partisan crowd. In the same edition, Harminder Singh too won bronze over 20000 metres (20 km).
Goswami, who also competes in the 20 km event, finished a respectable 17th in the Tokyo Olympics. An employee at the Indian Railways, she holds the national record over 20 km at 1:28.45. Twice-winner of the Indian Racewalking Championship in 2017 and 2021, she is perhaps India’s finest speed-walker and the nation’s most successful at the sport. Starting as a gymnast, her early switch to athletics has paid rich dividends.
Meanwhile, adding to India’s delight in athletics is Avinash Sable. The steeplechase runner was a breath away from snatching gold but had to settle for silver in the 3000-metre final. Securing India’s fourth athletics medal, Sable stunned the odds with his sterling effort.