India’s middle-distance runner Jinson Johnson on Friday said that he will be training in the United States in a bid to improve his timings and seal a berth in next year’s Olympics.
“I will be going to the US to train under coach Scott Simmons,” he said. “At the Asian level and Indian level, my timings are okay but at the world level, I want to improve it.”
Johnson, who has to break his own 1,500m national record (3:37.62) to qualify for the Olympics, said he would be taking part in an invitational event in Germany on September 1 before heading to the United States.
The Tokyo Olympics qualification mark for the 1,500 metres race is 3:35.00. The 28-year old, who recently signed with Asics India along with marathoner Thonakal Gopi, is hoping that training in Colarado Springs would help in improving his timings.
He added: “I am hoping that training in Colorado Springs under coach Simmons would help in bettering my timing. Running in the Olympics is my aim and to do that I have to run 3.35.00, which means I have to cut some 2.5 seconds from my personal best. I am confident of achieving the (Olympic) qualifying standards.”
Johnson had won the Asian Games 1500m gold in 3:44.72. The Kerala athlete said training and competing in events abroad would help him get better as the competition would be tougher.
“Training abroad and competing in events abroad will give me an advantage, as the competition is tougher there. I will also be exposed to varying conditions and training methods, which will help a lot. A lot would depend on race strategy also and I need to focus on that too.’
Meanwhile, marathon runner Gopi Thonakal, who has qualified for the upcoming World Championships in Doha, is confident of doing well in the meet and securing qualification for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
He had secured a berth in the Worlds in the Seoul International Marathon earlier this year with a timing of 2:13:39, his personal best.
Gopi is aware of the challenge he faces in Doha but is keen to do well and qualify for the Olympics. The qualification timing (for Tokyo) is 2:11:30, which means he has to improve over his personal best by nearly two minutes, but he is determined to do it.
“I will have to improve my personal best at the Worlds (to qualify for Tokyo). I am aware that I have to improve over my personal best by two minutes. My focus is to be able to qualify for the Olympics. I am confident that I can qualify for the Olympics. Let us see how it goes,” Gopi said.
Gopi said he hoped to do well in the marathon that is scheduled to be held at midnight. Preparations are going on well. I am happy with it. It is also good that the race is to be run at midnight in view of the heat and I hope to do well,” he added.
The 31-year old athlete said once he qualified for the Tokyo Games, he would make his plans. He is also aware that he would have to break Shivnath Singh’s long-standing national record (2:12:00s) if he has to earn the ticket to Tokyo.