For Tokyo minimize, street runner Gopi eyes 2021 races

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Marathons will resume in September however India’s greatest hope Thonakal Gopi is seeking to subsequent yr as an alternative. He is plotting a path to the Olympics by way of the Seoul street race in March. To qualify for Tokyo, Gopi might want to clock 2:11:30, which is seven minutes lower than the qualifying mark for the 2016 Olympics. “It’s within my reach but I need a good platform, which isn’t there on the Indian domestic circuit,” stated Gopi, 32.

“The weather conditions have to be ideal to run under 2:12. The route has to be smooth. Above all, fitness has to be excellent,” stated Gopi whose greatest of two:13:39 fetched him the 11th spot in Seoul in March 2019. This yr’s marathon in Seoul was cancelled due to Covid-19.

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The nationwide record of two:12 was set by Shivnath Singh in 1978. The subsequent six months are essential, stated the Olympian and Army runner now coaching at Sports Authority of India’s centre in Bengaluru after recovering from a right knee harm.

Gopi defined why he’s giving the races starting in September — as introduced by World Athletics on Tuesday — a miss. It wouldn’t be doable for him to rejig his coaching schedule to be prepared by then, he stated.

“Secondly, there are travel restrictions. Also, there could entry issues,” stated Gopi, winner of the 2017 Asian marathon in China with a time of two:15:48.

In 2016, Gopi was among the many three Indian runners who certified for the Rio Olympics. He completed 25th in 2:15:25. Gopi was the one Indian in 2017 World Athletics Championships’ marathon and he was 28th with a time of two:13:13.

Gopi’s present in Seoul last yr helped him qualify for the world championships in Doha the place he ended 21st in 2:15:57. “It was robust to finish the race,’’ he stated, referring to the warmth and humidity.

[Attribution HT.]

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