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India's running sensation Jinson Johnson sets sights on Olympics qualification

Indias running sensation Jinson Johnson sets sights on Olympics qualification

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Published: 23 July 2019 4:13 AM GMT

Asian Games gold medallist Jinson Johnson covers a distance of 15 kilometres every day, alongside working on speed variation in order to earn qualification time for Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Despite having improved his national record timing in 1,500 metres in the invitational meet in the Netherlands on June 15, Jinson, the ace Indian middle-distance runner does not seem to be complacent. He clocked 3:37.62 seconds to finish sixth in the event. In Sweden, he won a silver medal by clocking 3:39.68 seconds. Neither that quite elated the 28-year-old.

Speaking from Sports Authority of India, Bengaluru, on Friday afternoon, the runner said, "I have not yet earned qualification timing for the world championship and 2020 Olympics. The qualification time for both the events is 3:35.00 seconds. That is to be remembered. So how can I be complacent?" 

After clinching a gold medal in Jakarta Asian Games, Jinson came into the spotlight in Indian athletics. Unfortunately, due to a niggling calf injury, he had to abandon the dream of participating in the 800-metre event in Asian Championships, in Doha as well as the Federation Cup. The long-distance runner, however, suggested that he has recovered a lot from his calf injury, following steady rehabilitation for the last couple of months. He further added, "My tendon is still a bit weak. But now I am being able to train full time."

Jinson won the gold medal at the Jakarta Asian Games
While the Kozhikode runner has his sights set on earning qualification time for both Olympics and World Championships, he asserted, "I have set the focus on 1,500 metres, not 800 metres. In a bid to sustain the 1,500 metres event in the highest level, you need to have a high endurance skill. For the last couple of months, I'm running almost 15 kilometres every day. "

He continues, "SAI, Bangalore has 500 metres track. Besides running on this track, I run on the roadside and I end up covering a total of 15 kilometres. Secondly, in order to become successful in an event like 1,500 metres, you must have a strategy. I'm lucky to have a coach as experienced as JS Bhatia. He is helping me to formulate the strategy. I have been working on the pace. The speed gained at the beginning of the run must be maintained throughout and as the finishing point comes closer, the speed has to be generated but at the same time, my body balance should be maintained. Otherwise, you cannot reach the finishing point with ease."

He added, "Actually, there should be an effortless movement in middle-distance running. Otherwise, you cannot achieve success."

Jinson, an Indian army employee since 2009, informed that he has a couple of domestic as well as international invitational tournaments. He said, "I hope I would be able to earn the qualification time finally."

But what has been the most memorable moment that Jinson cherishes? Is it the gold medal that he won in the Asian Games? Jinson smiled saying, "Not only the gold. I acquired qualification time for the participation in Rio Olympics on the last day of the selection trial. That was again a memorable moment for me and even today, it is my mental strength to acquire the qualification time for the Tokyo Olympics."

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