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Asian Games champion Jinson Johnson has set a realistic goal on comeback trail

Jinson Johnson is India's ace runner in 1500m category (File Photo)
Jinson Johnson is India's ace runner in 1500m category (File Photo)

Jinson Johnson, India’s national record holder and 2018 Jakarta Asian Games champion in 1500m racing, will be back in action after a long gap of almost two years due to injuries.

The army’s 31-year-old international runner will compete at the 25th National Federation Cup Athletics Competition starting this weekend in Kozhikode.

When asked about his first race of the 2022 season, Jinson Johnson had this to say:

“Since I’m in good health, I plan to run a good 1500m race."

It has been almost two long years since the Indian middle-distance runner competed at the domestic as well at the international level. His last domestic competition was the 2019 Open National Athletics Championships in Ranchi.

He suffered a rare defeat to finish second. In October of the same year, he also competed at the World Military Games in China.

Injuries apart, pandemic-induced lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 also hampered the Kerala middle-distance runner's progress on the track.

Following rehabilitation and training at the high altitude of Ooty in Tamil Nadu, the Jakarta Asian Games champion is all set to test himself at this weekend’s domestic competition in Kozhikode.

He clearly stated:

“I’ve set a realistic goal of 3:45 for 1500m. If I’m able to run faster, it will be a bonus. My main goal in the opening competition of this year is to evaluate my fitness.”

Jinson Johnson's upcoming challenges

Jinson Johnson has been out of action for around two years (Image: ADG PI/Twitter)
Jinson Johnson has been out of action for around two years (Image: ADG PI/Twitter)

Jinson Johnson's top priority this year is to defend his 1500m title at the Hangzhou Asian Games in September. Earning a berth for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in July is also on the agenda.

Since Johnson was out of action in 2020 and 2021, he wasn’t shortlisted for the national camp. Not being in the national camp wasn't a deterrent as he could pool his own resources to practice in Ooty.

2018 was Johnson’s best season till date in terms of performance and awards. He finished a creditable fifth at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and broke a four-decade old national 800m record in a domestic meet in Guwahati.

He capped the 2018 season with gold in 1500m and 800m silver at the Jakarta Asian Games.

The first half of the 2019 season too went along expected lines, but his performance plummeted in the latter part of the year. He even sustained injuries and eventually faded out.

The highlight of the 2019 season was his timing of 3:35:24 in 1500 meters, in September, which fell short of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualifying time of 3:35 seconds.

Before heading into a warmup session before another of his training periods, Johnson concluded by saying:

“Staying injury free will be key to success this season.”

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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