Army star Jinson Johnson confident of qualifying for Tokyo Olympics

Jinson Johnson
Jinson Johnson at the SAI centre, Bengaluru. Photo: By Special Arrangement
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Indian athlete Jinson Johnson has completed his rehab after suffering an Achilles tendon injury and is back to training at the Sports Authority of India's (SAI), Bengaluru, centre. The 1,500m specialist’s hopes of qualifying for the now postponed Tokyo Olympics have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In normal circumstances, Olympic qualifiers would have been over by June-end. Right now it’s uncertain as to when the season will start,” Jinson told Onmanorama.

“I am back to training. Strength exercises and endurance workouts are the routine. Since I have recovered from a tendon injury and there has been a long break this is the way forward for the time being,” said the 29-year-old.

The Army man from Chakkittapara in Kozhikode had a great 2018. He broke Bahadur Prasad's 1,500m national record at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games en route to a fifth-place finish.

He then shattered the legendary Sriram Singh’s 800m record – the longest standing national record in Indian athletics – at the Guwahati Senior Nationals.

Jinson went on to clinch the gold in 1500m at the Jakarta Asian Games besides bagging a silver in 800m.

Jinson picked up an Achilles tendon injury last November while training under American coach Scott Simmons at Colorado Springs, US. “Looking back, I feel it was a blessing in disguise. Or else I would have continued there and from media reports the US has been badly hit by the pandemic,” said Jinson.

Jinson Johnson
Jinson Johnson at the SAI centre, Bengaluru. Photo: By Special Arrangement

Marathon runner T Gopi, race walker K T Irfan and Indian hockey team goalkeeper P R Sreejesh are among the Kerala athletes undergoing training at SAI, Bengaluru.

“We have to maintain social distancing. This has been a strange period as the travel plans have gone for a toss. I last visited my home in December,” said Jinson.

The qualifying mark for next year's Tokyo Olympics is 3.35s and Jinson’s personal best stands at 3:35.24s.

“Though we resumed training in mid-May, there was a further two-week quarantine after a COVID-19 positive cook died at the centre. Qualifying for the Tokyo Games won't be easy for sure. But I am confident I can achieve it,” Jinson said.

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