The middle distance runner is currently recovering from COVID-19.
Jinson Johnson has established himself as one of the most recognizable names in the Indian athletics scenario. Born in Chakkittapara in the Kozhikode district of Kerala, Johnson grew an affinity towards running from a very young age.
He shot to fame after a superb performance at the 2015 Asian Athletics Championships in Wuhan, China. At several stages of his career, he has been the top-ranked runner in Asia in both 800m and 1500m. The 30-year-old who is a Naib Subedar for the Indian Army, will aim for a good showing at the Tokyo Olympics and aim to bring glory back to the nation. He is currently recovering from Covid-19 and will hope to come back stronger.
Jinson Johnson has managed to win several accolades on the international stage. Let’s take a look at five of the greatest achievements from his career so far:
5. Clinching silver at the Asian Athletics Championships
A little-known Jinson Johnson participated in the Asian Athletics Championships in 2015. The competition took place in the Wuhan Sports Centre in China with several top athletes from all across Asia participating in it. Johnson took part in the 800 metres event, and only managed to finish 7th in the heats. However, he did reserve his best for the finals. Clocking a timing of 1:49.69, he finished just behind Qatar’s Musaeb Abdulrahman Balla but well ahead of Sho Kawamoto of Japan.
Jinson Johnson had well and truly arrived as he took home the silver medal!
4. Three Gold medals at the Asian Grand Prix
The same year, Johnson was at the top of his powers in Thailand. He romped his way through the 800m event in all three legs of the Asian Grand Prix. Johnson managed to win three Gold medals within a period of 10 days. He started his dominance after winning in the Thai capital of Bangkok. Later on, he displayed his talents by winning two more golds at Pathumthani and Chanthaburi.
A dominant performance from one of the elite Asian athletes!
3. Setting a new national record in the Commonwealth Games
At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, Jinson Johnson managed to capture the attention of several Indians watching back home. He participated in the men’s 1500 metres and finished in the second position in the heats. In the finals, Johnson managed to clock timing of 3:37.86 and finished in fifth place.
In doing so, Johnson eventually broke the long-standing 23-year-old national record of Bahadur Prasad. He won several plaudits for his performance, which he duly deserved for all his hard work over the years.
2. Winning Gold in the 2018 Asian Games
Johnson travelled to Indonesia for the 2018 Asian Games, with the top prize the only thing on his mind. After managing to finish second behind compatriot Manjit Singh in the 800m, he switched his focus to the 1500m with the top prize the only thing on his mind. Yet again he finished second in the heats.
However, he lit up the finals in the Gelona Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta. Johnson clocked a timing of 3:44.72 to finish comfortably ahead of Iran’s Amir Moradi and Bahrain’s Mohammed Tiouali. Once again Johnson proved that he has that special knack of delivering his best performance when it matters the most.
1. Becoming first Indian male to qualify for the 800m in Olympics since 1980
Jinson Johnson created history by qualifying for the 800m at Rio 2016 after clocking 1:45.98 at the Indian Grand Prix in Bengaluru to beat the qualification cut-off of 1:46.00. He ended a 36-year long drought by becoming the first Indian male runner to qualify for the 800m at the Olympics since Sriram Singh did it in 1980.
At his maiden Games, the runner found himself in Heat 3 along with world-record holder and eventual gold medallist, Kenya’s David Rudisha. Starting in lane 7, Jinson Johnson managed to take the lead briefly before he started losing ground. Despite picking up his pace in the final 200m stretch, he finished fifth in the 9-man heat, clocking a time of 1:47.27. With the top three from each heat along with the three next fastest runners across heats qualifying for the semi-finals, Jinson Johnson found himself 0.62 seconds off the mark. Egypt’s Hamada Mohamed secured the final spot with a time of 1:46.65.