Asian Games champion Jinson Johnson, India’s premier middle-distance runner, says he is very much capable of qualifying for the 1500 metres event at the Tokyo Olympics.
“The qualification mark is set at 3:35 for Tokyo but the gold at Rio came in 3:50. The IAAF has made qualifications tougher. Nevertheless, for several years I have been doing things which were not done by my compatriots. I can springing surprises,” he told PTI in an interview here.
The ace runner was in the city for the unveiling of the 12th edition of TCS World 10K ‘Finisher’s Tee’. Johnson’s personal best time is 3:37.86, which he set at Gold Coast CWG, last year.
Johnson said he understands the requirements of IAAF to have only 40-45 participants to make the event highly competitive and that’s why the qualification parameters for the World Championships and the Olympics are tough.
The Kerala athlete managed to qualify for the Asian Championships in 1500m despite a niggling calf injury and a below-par show at Federation Cup, which was his first competition this season.
Johnson had to pull out of Doha Asian Athletics Championships due to calf injury while competing in the 800m there, which forced him to stay away from 1500m event.
“These are ups and downs of the sports. I have always performed well in international competitions. Though I did not get any medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, I got the national record in 1500m,” he said.
Johnson had finished fifth at 2018 CWG with a timing of 3:37.86 to break past Bahadur Prasad’s 23-year-old mark. Two months later, he broke Sriram Singh’s 42-year-old record in 800m.
The IAAF Gold Label Race will be flagged off from Sree Kanteerava Stadium on May 19.