|Born: 08 February 1990, Malappuram, Kerala, India
|Personal best: 10 km: 40:10
20 km: 1:20:21 NR
Event – 20km Walk
K T Irfan announced his arrival at the world stage by finishing 10th at the London 2012 Olympics in the 20km Walk.
Irfan clocked 1::20:21 in the race, bettering the old national record of 1::20.35 set by Gurmeet Singh. Irfan had qualified for the London Olympics in the men’s 20km competition at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup at Saransk, Russia in May 2012 as he crossed the London Games ‘A’ standard of 1:22.30 in his 19th place finish.
He qualified for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics by securing a good finish at IAAF World race Walking Cup with a finish of 20 km in 1:21:09 in 2014 held at Taicang.
Race walking was an unknown form of Athletics for India and Indians till 2010 as there were no representations in the IAAF World Cup 2010. Then something changed,the Sports Authority of India put out a tender for a coach in 2011, and the chosen candidate was chief coach Alexander Artsybashev, from the Siberian city of Chelyabinsk.
He got to swap his local wintry wastes for the kinder climate of Kerala in India’s deep south, where a lot of the country’s top race walkers are based.
Lucky Irfan K T as well.
His career was at best moderate before Artsybashev showed up but, in just over a year, he went from struggling to break 1:30 to 10th at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
His 1:20:29 in London, which remains his personal best, showed almost perfect pace judgement after having gone through halfway in 40:10.
His previous best of 1:22:09 equates to almost half a kilometre slower than his trip up and down The Mall – and that was just five months previously.
He almost caught the man who would become the 2013 world champion over 50km: Ireland’s Robert Heffernan.
It was a huge improvement. After all, not a single Indian appeared at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup 2010 in Chihuahua, Mexico.