Jinson Johnson broke India’s longest standing national record of 1:45.77s in the 800m, set by Sriram Singh, to make the qualifying mark for Asian Games. In 200m event, Hima Das won gold to make the cut for Asiad while Muhammad Anas missed out on qualification mark of 20.87 seconds.
Three more athletes were added to India’s athletics contingent at Asian Games after meeting the qualification mark on Wednesday in the ongoing National inter-State athletics championships. However, what set the day apart was the fact that Jinson Johnson broke Sriram Singh’s 42-year-old record of 1:45.77s in 800m set at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.
Two-time Asian championship medallist Johnson, came up with personal best as he went past India's longest standing national record to not win gold in men’s 800m but also qualify for Asian Games. His previous personal best was 1:45.98s achieved in Bengaluru in 2016.
The Asiad qualification mark was 1:47.50s and as many as three other athletes breached the qualifying mark. Haryana's Manjit Singh (silver, 1:46.24s), Manipur's Mohammed Afsal (bronze, 1:46.79s) and Haryana's Beant Singh (4th-place, 1:46.92s) finished above the mark but only the top two athletes earn the right to be a part of the contingent as per the norms of Athletics Federation of India. Thus, Mohammed Afsal and Beant Singh will miss out on Asiad. Sriram Singh whose
"I am happy that someone has finally broken my record. My record stood for four decades and it didn't augur well for the Indian athletics. It showed the lack of progress. But today Johnson has shown that our country's track and field athletes are working hard to achieve excellence. Even the other three competitors came close to touching my mark. I always believed in Johnson's ability because he had come close to breaching my mark on earlier occasions as well," said Singh, talking to TOI.
In the 200m event, local favorite Hima Das soaked in the occasion as she qualified for the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games after clocking inside the qualification mark finishing the race at 23.10 seconds. However, there was some disappointment in men’s 200m event as Muhammad Anas failed to qualify for the Asiad clocking 20.98s falling short of the qualifying mark of 20.87s.