Ahmedabad, Oct 31: Babubhai Keshrabhai Panucha has become the first Gujarati sportsperson to qualify to represent India in the Long Walk-event in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Babu, who hails from the tribal-dominated Ambava village in Malpur Taluka of Sabarkantha district and works as Havaldar in Rajputana Regiment of Indian Army, qualified for the Olympics by making a national record in 20 kms long walk-event with timings of 01:23:40 hours at the recently held Open National Athletics Championship at Jamshedpur.
Babu said ''I am happy that I have been chosen to represent the country at the Beijing Olympics. I have deep rooted desire to win a medal at the Olympics.'' Meanwhile, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in a special message to the son-of-the soil, congratulated him and send his best wishes for success at the Olympics.
In his long sports career, Babu had also stood first in 50 kms long walk-event in Indian Army Games-2007 held recently at Hyderabad.