While training at the high-altitude base in Colorado Springs, USA under the tutelage of Scott Simmons in November, Indian 1500m specialist Jinson Johnson suffered a serious achilles heel injury that set back efforts to qualify for Tokyo 2020.
“Johnson has severely damaged the Achilles heel tendon in his left foot because of which he couldn’t train all November and might also miss training in December and January 2020,” an AFI official told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity.
The injury forced Jinson to return to India and it threw a wrench in the middle-distance runner’s hopes of qualifying for Tokyo 2020, for which the window closes by June, 2020.
A glimmer of hope
However, things seem to be looking up a bit now. The 28-year-old has been undergoing rehabilitation in Mumbai, including underwater and anti-gravity training at the HN Reliance Foundation Hospital.
"I feel there has been some improvement. But there is a lot of difference between this and actually running on a track while wearing spikes. I am targeting January to get back on track. I have to because time is running out," Jinson told The New Indian Express.
Jinson is hoping to return to competition by March, which means we should see him at either the Federation Cup or the Grand Prix. However, despite the shrinking window looming before him, he doesn't wish to rush into it either. "It will take at least three months to get back to full fitness after I hit the track. Participating just for the sake of doing so is useless. I want to do well. So, I'm going to take time," said the 2015 Asian Athletics Championships silver medallist.
Even though Jinson himself had requested the Athletics Federation of India to send him to Colorado Springs to train, as of now, Jinson has no plans of returning there. "It was like an experiment for me. The climate was extreme. I went there because I wanted to know what it was like to train at the best facilities and with the coaches," explained the Kozhikode athlete.
"After the injury, it is better to stay in hot conditions because our blood circulation becomes fast. In cold temperatures, it will be slow, and recovery will take time," said Johnson.
While the Colorado Springs injury put him out of action for good, Jinson said he had been troubled by nagging pain long before he went to the US. "If you had noticed, during my competitions in Europe and other places, I had always taped my leg. I was feeling weak."
He was experiencing pain in his left tendon during his events in Europe. However, not wanting to miss the World Championships, Jinson persevered, even bettering his own national record in Berlin.
Now, with time to Tokyo 2020 running out fast, Jinson will no doubt be hoping to make a safe return while making every effort count.