Having missed an earlier opportunity to make the cut for Tokyo Olympics 2020, India's leading middle-distance runner Jinson Johnson is still hopeful of his chances and thinks he may end up getting the ticket for the biggest sporting event in the World.
“I am currently looking to book my place at the Olympics. The qualification mark is 3:35 minutes for the 1500m event and I recorded a timing of 3:35:24 last year, so I missed the qualification mark by 24 milliseconds. The competition level in athletics is very high. More than 200 countries participate in athletics events. I have seen a rise in sportspersons taking up athletics in the last few years,” Johnson added.
The current national record holder in the 800m and 1500m, Johnson has expressed his optimism about the future of Indian sports and the role Khelo India University Games are playing in promoting it.
After the successful hosting of the Khelo India Youth Games, the city of Bhubaneswar will now play host to the University version of this event. This, Johnson believes, will create the much-needed culture of sports in the university circuit that he found thriving in United States of America.
“I went to the United States of America for training last year. The college-level tournaments are very popular there and the level of competition is very high. The competition level is high in European university tournaments as well. Some of the university-level athletes go on to represent their country as well. So, it will be good if the university-level athletes receive support in India,” the 2018 Asian Games gold-medalist stated.
The 28-year old, though, also emphasized the value of sponsorships and financial assistance in making sportspersons succeed at the highest level. “Athletes need good support to perform well in world events. The Sports Authority of India is trying to garner sponsorships for athletes.
“The sportspersons at the university level are not working, so they need the funds to pursue sports. All equipment for any sport is expensive. So, more competitions are good for athletes, but they need to be financially supported as well," the Olympian asserted.