Indian runner Jinson Johnson has been given a new lease of life after the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2018 Asian Games gold and silver medallist suffered a serious injury on his achilles heel tendon in November last year when training in the cold climes of Colorado Springs, USA.
It put him out of action for several months and there was a fear that the rehabilitation could take some time and so, he would miss the qualification events for the Tokyo Olympics.
However, the delay has given him ample time to recover and though it re-enforces his chances of appearing at a second-consecutive Olympic Games, the Indian runner takes no pleasure due to the circumstances under which it materialised.
“The postponement of the Olympics happened because of the virus. So, I can never say that it was a good thing,” he told The New Indian Express.
The injury happened at an inopportune moment and Jinson Johnson admits that he did attempt to rush back in desperation to catch the flight for the Tokyo Olympics.
“The qualification was going to end in June. It was a situation where I had to have enough rehab time and track time,” he explained. “There was a worry that I wouldn’t get enough rehab, but I had no choice.”
Never one to give up
Jinson Johnson has always been someone who pushes the boundaries and is ready to fight through the pain barrier. In the European events last year, the Indian runner had been experiencing pain in his left tendon and had to strap it up.
The 1500m specialist did not give up though as he created a new national record of 3:35.24, breaking his own one in the process, to grab silver at an IAAF event in Berlin and subsequently qualify for the World Athletics Championships.
He then requested the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to send him to Colorado Springs to train in extreme temperatures, where he suffered his injury and was forced to return to Mumbai, where the hot climate offered better chances of rehabilitation.
Jinson Johnson is now slowly getting back to peak fitness by training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) campus in Bengaluru and the time-off has allowed him to recover without the pressure of competitions.
“We don’t know when competitions are going to start again, things have to get back to normal. For me, I have got some time to prepare before the next set of rounds start,” he admitted.