Qualifying timing of Paris Olympics tough for Indian marathon runners: Gopi Thonakal

US Olympic Trial: Track & Field (Marathon)
US Olympic Trial: Track & Field (Marathon)

Elite Indian marathon runner Gopi Thonakal reckons that making it to the 2024 Paris Olympics would be difficult for Indian runners as the qualifying time for the marathon seems almost beyond their reach at the momebt.

The qualifying time for the marathon at the 2024 Paris Olympics is 2:08:10. This time is beyond the long-standing 46-year-old national record.

"This qualifying timing (of the Paris Olympics) is very tough for Indian marathon runners. We are hoping to get through (the Olympics) via rankings where an average is calculated from five competitions over around two years," Gopi was quoted as saying by the PTI ahead of the New Delhi Marathon, an Olympic qualifying event.

The window for the Paris Olympics marathon qualification is from November 6, 2022, to May 5, 2024. As many as 80 athletes will take part in the 42.195km event. However, unfortunately, there is no Indian runner listed in the World Athletics' Road to Paris chart as of yet.

The previous qualifying time was 2:11:30 for the Tokyo Olympics, which the World Athletics revised to 2:08:10 this time.

Gopi Thonakal will aim to shatter the 46-tear-old national record

Come the New Delhi Marathon, Gopi Thonakal will look to break the 46-year-old national record and make his way to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Gopi is fully fit to take part in the New Delhi Marathon, which is a qualifying event for the Olympics.

"I am hoping to run my personal best here in Delhi. I am perfectly fit now though I had less time for training after the Mumbai Marathon (in January)," the elite Indian runner added in his conversation with the PTI.

The national record is 2:12:00, which has been held by Shivnath Singh since 1978, which has survived for decades. Gopi is certainly keen to break the record.

"Yes, why not? I can try for the national record. I have been trying for that but I had faced problems in the last 10km (of the 42.195km race) or so in two or three events earlier. Otherwise, the national record would have been broken earlier," he stated.

Gopi Thonakal is a former Asian Champion with a personal best of 2:13:39, which helped him qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics when the qualification time was 2:19.

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Edited by S Chowdhury