AFI ropes in Max Bupa to promote ‘Race Walking’ in India

Athletics Federation of India (AFI) today roped in Max Bupa Health Insurance in a bid to promote ‘Race Walking’ as a sport in the country, which is the longest event (both in distance covered and time taken) at the Olympics. This year the Max Bupa National Race Walking Championship, which attempts to make India a ‘walking’ nation, will begin with a 20-kilometre and 50-kilometre race walk on 18th February and will conclude with the 10km race walk on 19th February. Read more at..http://www.uniindia.com/afi-ropes-in-max-bupa-to-promote-race-walking-in-india/sports/news/776516.html

Max Bupa National Race Walking Championship

What is Race walking?

Racewalking, or race walking, is a long-distance discipline within the sport of athletics. Although it is a foot race, it is different from running in that one foot must appear to be in contact with the ground at all times. Races are typically held on either roads or running tracks.

Race walking | A unique combination of speed, endurance, strength and flexibility

History of Race Walking

Interview with Manish Rawat

Rules :- Race walking differs from running in that it requires the competitor to maintain contact with the ground at all times and requires the leading leg to be straightened as the foot makes contact with the ground. It must remain straightened until the leg passes under the body. Judges evaluate the technique of race walkers and report fouls which may lead to disqualification. All judging is done by the eye of the judge and no outside technology is used in making judging decisions.

Distances :- Races have been walked at distances as short as 3 kilometres at the 1920 Summer Olympics—and as long as 100 km. The men's world record for the 50-mile race walk is held by Israeli Shaul Ladany, whose time of 7:23:50 in 1972 beat the world record that had stood since 1935.[6] The modern Olympic events are the 20 km (12.4 mi) race walk (men and women) and 50 km (31 mi) race walk (men only).

Judges:- There are three judges on the course to monitor the race. Judges evaluate walkers on the basis of the above rules. When a judge spots a violation, he or she submits a red card to the participant. Three red cards result in disqualification of the participant.

There is a scoreboard placed on the course so competitors can see their violation status. If the third violation is received, the chief judge removes the competitor from the course by showing a red paddle. For monitoring reasons, races are held on a looped course or on a track so judges get to see competitors several times during a race. A judge could also "caution" a competitor that he or she is in danger of losing form by showing a paddle that indicates either losing contact or bent knees.

No judge may submit more than one card for each walker and the chief judge may not submit any cards; it is his or her job only to disqualify the offending walker.

Interesting trivia – the Racewalk Wiggle :- In the 1960’s, one man changed the face of racewalking forever. He was Jerzy Hausleber, a Polish walking enthusiast. Before Hausleber, race walking was dominated by tall athletes, as a New York Times retrospective explains. It made sense: Taller walkers had longer strides and could go cover more distance in less time. What Hausleber discovered is that shorter, more flexible athletes could increase their stride frequency and tease more movement out of every step.

What is the Husleber gait:

  • Walkers twist their hips more to give them the maximum possible stride length.
  • They drop their hips lower to lower the centre of gravity to walk faster.
  • They walk in a straight line to help do the twist better.

Interesting facts on Race Walking

  • One of the main rules of race walking is that competitors must keep at least one foot on the ground at all time.
  • And the front leg must always be straight.
  • The sport’s characteristic hip movement is necessary so that the athlete avoids bending the knee.
  • Violations of the above rules are punished by the judges with a red card. If the athlete receives three of them, they are eliminated from the race.
  • Because the events are so difficult to monitor, the sport is very subjective, and complaints to the judges are extremely common. (A little bit like soccer.)
  • At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australian athlete Jane Saville was about to win the gold when she was disqualified for excessive infractions. A reporter asked her if she wanted anything. “A gun to shoot myself,” she replied.
  • The sport dates back to an amateur practice that emerged in England during the 19th century called “pedestrianism,” which was essentially just competitive walking.
  • According to an 1876 issue of The New York Times, two practitioners of pedestrianism trekked 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours in one particularly heated race.
  • Race walking debuted at the 1904 Olympics as one of the ten sports of the decathlon. At the following summer Olympics in1908, it was formalized as an independent sport.
  • At the Olympics, men compete in both 20km and 50km races. Women only compete in a 20km event.
  • The women’s competition didn’t debut until the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
  • The sport was brought to Brazil in 1937 by José Carlos Daudt and Tulio de Rose, who had learned about race walking in the previous year’s Games in Berlin. Brazil has six athletes competing across all three events at the Rio games this year.
  • But Brazil still doesn’t have any Olympic medals in race walking.
  • America has only taken home two medals in the event, both of them bronze. They were both won by Larry Young at the 1968 and 1972 games.
  • Athletes from the now defunct Soviet Union have won the most race walking events at the Olympics, with a whopping 13 medals.