Sajeesh Joseph of the Indian Railways bagged gold medal in the 1500 meter run in the 17th USIC Men and 14th Women World Railway Athletics Championships 2009 being organised by Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) and Central Railway Sports Association at Shiv Chhatrapati Sports City Balewadi on Tuesday.
Joseph won the gold medal with a timing of 3:51:94. Close behind him,bagging silver was compatriot Rajiv R with a timing of 3:53:60 and Kuznetsov Andrey of Russia won bronze with a timing of 3:54:62.
“I knew that I have to face stiff competition from the Russian Kuznetsov Andrey. Hence,my plan was to stay behind him for the entire race and beat him in the last 200 meters,and I stuck to it. I have been practicing for the past several months for this tournament and I am delighted with the result”,said a delighted Joseph. 22-year-old Joseph was born in the Kottayam district in Kerala. He began his career at the Pala Municipal Ground in Kottayam in 2002 and in the very next year,under the coaching of VC Joseph,he won his first national medal. Then in 2004,under the coaching of Thankachan Mathew he won the bronze medal for the 800 meter run at the Asian Junior Athletic meet and came in fourth place at the SAFF games. He joined the Southern railway in 2006 and won an Asian Grand Prix bronze medal in the 1500 meter run. Joseph,who missed the Olympic Qualification mark by just 4 microseconds,recorded his best timing of 1:47:42 for the 800 meter run in the European Grand Prix in London. Joseph contributes Tuesday’s success to his employers,the Indian railways and to PT Usha,who is in charge of the Palakkad division,where he is posted.
“The railways have helped us a lot. They relieved us of our duty and allowed us to concentrate fully on the preparation for this competition. This helped me to put my focused attention on my practice. Usha ma’am has also helped me a lot. She was very happy to hear about my vctory. She is very helpful. She gives all the athletes the support that they need. She gives us the right advice as well”,said Joseph.
When asked about his iummediate future he said,”I am practicing for the Commonwealth Games in 2010 as well as the Asian Games. I will look to win a medal there as well.”