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19th of October 2018

Sport



Elusive Olympic medal in athletics within our reach: Jinson Johnson - Times of India

KOCHI: After his fantastic win in 1500m in the Asian Games, Jinson Johnson dares to dream big. He lost the 800m final unexpectedly to his friend and rival Manjit Singh. But a day later, Jinson ran the race of his life to win the 1500m gold.

"In 800m, I was boxed by the rivals and Manjit cunningly took advantage of the situation and I'm very happy for my friend. I didn't have much choice. As there was no recovery time too as events were held in consecutive days, all I had to do was to go out and enjoy myself. I ran the race of the life and rest is history. It was a moment to cherish," said the 27-year-old from Chakittapara in Kozhikode on the sidelines of a felicitation ceremony organised by RSC here on Thursday.

Even legendary Sriram Singh came running from the stands in Jakarta and said: "Beta … if you work hard like this, an Olympic medal is within our reach," said Jinson who smashed Sriram's 42-year-long record in 800m couple of months ago in national meet in Guwahati. "So my next target will be Tokyo for sure."

Jinson says that his training schedule with middle distance coach JS Bhatia and the races in Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the Asiad test meet in Jakarta in May came in handy.

Jinson's 1500m gold-winning time of 3 minutes 44.72 seconds was better than the gold medal-winning time of 3:50.00s won by American Matthew Centrowitz in the 2016 Rio Games.

"See, the timing and rankings simply do not count particularly in middle distance races. Manjit proved it in 800m and I did it in 1500m. For Asiad, the plans were good and the results back it too. Not my 1500m timing, even javelin thrower Neeraj (Chopra) is an athlete who can climb the podium in Tokyo (2020 Olympics)," Jinson, junior commissioned officer with the army in Hyderabad said. "Two-month camps in Ooty and later in Thimphu in Bhutan helped us prepare well for Asian Games. But for the Olympics, we need to have a more organized schedule with the right kind of training. We also need to participate in more competitions, including Diamond Leagues, to gain experience which will put us in good stead. If all stakeholders work hand-in-hand, the elusive Olympic medal will be in our grasp," Jinson said.

From flat to hurdles

Triple silver medallist Muhammed Anas in 400, relay and mixed relay wants to switch from 400m flat to 400m hurdles. "If I can run sub-45 seconds in 400m, I would like to shift to 400m hurdles. I had plans to switch it two years ago but was forced to put it on hold as I was recalled to national camp in Patiala for world relay championship which was scrapped. Then (for fear for sanctioning from AFI) I stuck on with national camp headed by Galina Bukharina who trained me in 200m too. I am improving with every opportunity but I think I'm done with 200m but I'll have to discuss it with all coaches before I concentrate on 400m, 400m hurdles and both 400m relays," the Navyman said.

'I'm not one meet wonder'Vismaya VK who was the revelation of the Asian Games with her scintillating race as an anchor in 4x400m relay banished the thought that she is one meet wonder. "No way. Even I'm going to switch my event from 400m to 400m hurdles. Coach Gailna herself has told me this. I started in hurdles during school days but recurring pain on the right leg prevented me to pursue the event. Now that I'm in good hands and I love to race in hurdles for sheer unique character of the event." 'This bronze weighs more than gold' "You are the champion for us not those African imports who made it 1-2 for Bahrain," PU Chitra told TOI about the biggest compliments she received from numerous athletes and coaches from various countries. Chitra, a PG student at Christ College, Irinjalakuda, and hailing from a non-descript village in Mundur, Palakkad, is the Asian champion in the event in both prestigious ATF and indoor events. She was third in 1500m behind the Bahrain duo. Read More




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