Irfan Kolothum Thodi, popularly known as KT Irfan, will be representing India in his second Olympics and this time, the athlete would want to ensure that he will not come back empty handed. Hailing from Malappuram, Kerala, the 31-year-old is an experienced athlete who specialises in the 20km racewalk. He has participated in numerous international tournaments and has won numerous awards for the country. Employed as a havildar in the Indian Army, KT Irfan took up racewalking as a kid when his friends introduced him to the sport and now, Irfan is known as the ‘Malappuram Express’ by the Indian sporting fraternity.
In his maiden appearance at the 2012 London Olympics, Irfan finished 10th which was outstanding by all means as he set a national record of 1 hour, 20 minutes, 21, seconds (1:20:21) in the 20km racewalk. Irfan had qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics but due to a stress fracture, the athlete could not participate. However, the athlete’s career was tarnished when he was sent back from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games for violating the no needle policy. Coming back stronger after the incident, Irfan has now qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and believes that this time he can win a medal for India.
Age - 31
Sports/Discipline - Racewalk (20km)
Working Ranking - Unknown
First Olympic Games - 2012 London
2012 London Olympics
— 10th - 1:20:21 (Sets National Record)
Asian Race-Walking Championship
— Bronze - Asian Race-Walking Championship, 2017, Nomi
Tokyo Olympics Qualification
In 2019, KT Irfan was the first athlete from India to book his ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Irfan bettered the Olympic qualification standard - 1 Hour 21 minutes by just three seconds i.e., 1 hour 20 minutes and 57 seconds. Through fine margins, Irfan qualified and secured bronze in the Asian Race-Waling Championships in Nomi, Japan, to book his berth in the Tokyo Olympics, his second appearance in the quadrennial tournament.
Other than his performance in the Asian Race-Walking Championship which helped KT Irfan book his ticket to the Olympics, the athlete participated in the 2019 World Championships in Doha, where he managed to better the qualifying time of 1:22:30. Earlier, Irfan had won the National Open Race Walking Championship in Chennai with a time of 1:26:18.