Sandeep Kumar may not be one of the most popular names in Indian athletics but there are very few who possess as much desire and motivation to make their country proud as the 30-year-old. He narrowly missed out on a place on the podium in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games coming in 4th in the 50km event.
In an interview with SportsCafe, Kumar said that he was living the dream, as he always wanted to be a part of the Indian Army ever since he was a child. Now he has the pleasure of not only representing the Army but his entire country on the world stage through his racewalking exploits.
Excerpt from the interview with Sandeep Kumar
How did you decide to compete in Racewalking?
When I joined the Indian Army in 2006, I completed my full army training. Over the next two years, I did all the exercises in the Army, and I met my Coach there, Subhedar Major Retired Honorary Captain Sitaram Singh, who also belonged to the Indian Army Jaat Regiment. At that point of time, I didn’t know too much about sports.The only sports knew about were Wrestling and Kabaddi, I didn’t know what Race walking was. Then explained Racewalking to me and considering my physique he brought me to Army’s sports company. So he got me started in Race walking.
In 2008, I started participating in small level competitions and since them, I have taken part in the North India region competitions in the Army to big level ones like Rio Olympics 2016. And I have made records on the National level and at the Indian Army level. Along with that, I finished 4th at the Asian Games, and now my entire focus is to get a medal. Now I am working for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the upcoming 2018 Asian Championships, and the Commonwealth Games to get a medal for my country.
Why did you join the Army?
I joined the Indian Army on September 14, 2006, because ever since my childhood I wanted to serve my country. Now I am loving it even more because not only am I in the Army but am also representing my country at the Olympics and many other events at the international level and make my country proud on both fronts.
Who is your favorite Kabaddi players?
Yes, I like Kabaddi a lot. My favorite Kabaddi player is Manjeet Chhillar and Surjeet Narwal. Also Kashinath from the South, so I like pretty much all the players, because they all play well. Manjeet Chhillar, I like more, though.
What are your thoughts on the Max Bupa walk for health initiative?
On 18th and 19th February, the National Racewalking Championship is being organized by Max Bupa. I like this initiative a lot because our it helps out sport get more recognition and support. Also, the Max Bupa ‘Walk for Health’ initiative is making people aware that there’s no better alternative
The Max Bupa National racewalking Championship will take place in New Delhi on 18-19 February.