For Tokyo cut, road runner Gopi eyes 2021 races

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Marathons will resume in September however India’s highest hope Thonakal Gopi is taking a look to subsequent yr as an alternative. He is plotting a path to the Olympics in the course of the Seoul road race in March. To qualify for Tokyo, Gopi will wish to clock 2:11:30, which is seven mins 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 highest of two:13:39 fetched him the 11th spot in Seoul in March 2019. This yr’s marathon in Seoul was once cancelled on account of Covid-19.

The nationwide document of two:12 was once set through Shivnath Singh in 1978. The subsequent six months are an important, stated the Olympian and Army runner now coaching at Sports Authority of India’s centre in Bengaluru after recuperating from a proper knee damage.

Gopi defined why he’s giving the races starting in September — as introduced through World Athletics on Tuesday — a omit. It wouldn’t be imaginable for him to rejig his coaching time table to be in a position through 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 once a number of the 3 Indian runners who certified for the Rio Olympics. He completed 25th in 2:15:25. Gopi was once the one Indian in 2017 World Athletics Championships’ marathon and he was once 28th with a time of two:13:13.

Gopi’s display in Seoul closing yr helped him qualify for the sector championships in Doha the place he ended 21st in 2:15:57. “It was once difficult to finish the race,’’ he stated, relating to the warmth and humidity.

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