First campaigner for India in the track event which commenced today at the Rio Olympics, Jinson Johnson’s dream lived a brief moment after he finished fifth in the qualification round of the men’s 800 metres Heat 3 on Friday.
The Kerala athlete clocked 1:47.27 to cover the two-lap distance which is considered as one of the toughest in athletics and finished overall on 25th spot.
Defending champion and world record holder David Rudisha from Kenya topped the heat as well as overall standing by clocking 1:45.09. Rudisha was followed by South Africa’s Rynardt Rensburg Van at the second spot in 1:45.67 minute who stood third in the overall ranking.
Johnson stands at rank 25 and is only fairly eliminated from proceeding to the next round. He appeared much slower than his personal best of 1:45.98 which he ran in Bangalore in July 2016 which eventually got him a ticket to Rio for the 800 metres after a span of four decades.
The last athlete to have represented India in 800 metres was Sriram Singh in 1976 Montreal Olympics. His national record of 1:45.77 that too in an Olympic event till date stands still.
Indian contingent and fans were counting on Johnson to make it to the next round as he was strongly considered a contender to break the 40-year old record. This, however, won’t deter the brave athlete’s confidence and he shall only be back stronger and faster the next time around.