In the quest to promote sports amongst the underprivileged, Essar Foundation has been supporting Priya Gupta, an athlete from Mumbai who is passionate about “Race-Walking”. Race-Walking is a foot race that is claimed to be harder than even running, and is a test of an athlete’s concentration and endurance.
Lack of financial and other resources slows down the pace for athletes to perform at higher levels, Essar Foundation stepped in to support Priya so as to help her achieve her dream to represent India.
Though she is at a Junior Level, she has been competing at the Senior Level. At the recent 71st Maharashtra State Senior Athletics Championships, held in Pune from May 21-23, 2023, Priya secured 3rd place (Bronze medal) in the 20,000m Race Walk. At the recently concluded 21st National Federation meet, she secured a 6th place.
What is race-walking?
There are only two rules that govern race-walking. The first dictates that the athlete’s back toe cannot leave the ground until the heel of the front foot has touched. Violation of this rule is known as loss of contact. The second rule requires that the supporting leg must straighten from the point of contact with the ground and remain straightened until the body passes directly over it. Hence it is very different from running. Athletes usually move the pelvis forward to minimize sideways motion in order to achieve maximum forward propulsion. Strides are short and quick, with pushoff coming forward from the ball of the foot, again to minimise the risk of losing contact with the ground. World-class racewalkers (male and female) can average under 12-15 Km/hr a 20-km race-walk.