For Jinson Johnson, 2018 was a year that marked several victories, most notable of which was his gold medal at the Asian Games, but it's the failures in the next two years that he seems to be looking forward to the most.
"I want to compete in more international tournaments. I competed in the IAAF Continental Cup, where I finished seventh. But that loss taught me a lot and it helped me improve. When I win gold medals at the national stage, there's no scope for improvements or corrections in my style. Missing out on the gold medal in the 800 metres at the Asian Game also gave me the incentive to improve," Johnson told reporters in a media interaction at the Glanbia FitIndia Conclave in Mumbai.
Learning from his disappointment at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Johnson has also decided to focus on the 1500 metres, stating that it is his preferred distance and is perfectly suited to his strengths. "At the Asian Championships next year, I think I'll do both events, but for the Olympics, it's best to focus entirely on one. No one does two middle-distance events in world-class competitions as there's not a lot of time between the two races to rest and recover well."
"I had a lot of expectations going into the Asian Games 800 metres since I'd broken a long-standing national record in that event. I was in a good position during the race, but in the final few metres, I made some mistakes and Manjit Singh had a great finish to the race," he added.
The middle-distance runner stated that he was happy for his compatriot Manjit Singh, and insisted that they were friends, saying, "I felt happy when he won, I never felt like I missed out on the gold medal. I knew that he was good and that there would only be a few microseconds between the two of us. It was great to be next to him on the podium and hear the national anthem being played twice."
When asked about his goals for the Olympics, Johnson said that he wants to be fully prepared for the level of opposition he'll face. "I feel like I have a chance at the 1500 metres. It's an unpredictable event, so I'll have to be prepared for anything. This year, the race was won in 3:50.00, which is a very slow time. People are scared of slow races because it gives everyone a good chance. I need to be prepared for a fast race as well," said Johnson.
"I've competed in the Olympics before, and I know that it's difficult. A lot of strong runners from other countries will be participating and it will be one of my toughest tests," he said, adding that his main focus now will be on the Asian and World Athletics Championships. Both events will be held in Doha, Qatar.
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Updated Date: Oct 04, 2018 15:40:00 IST