New Delhi, India’s 4x400m relay runner Rajiv Arokia said on Tuesday that though the pandemic left many athletes “mentally disturbed” but with the Olympics around the corner, everyone became determined to overcome the “little troubles and get there”.
The 30-year old Arjuna awardee added that he feels the “adrenaline rush” as the long-awaited Tokyo Olympics become a reality.
“The pandemic made us mentally disturbed, somehow we have managed to fight against it but it had left its impact on our minds. We had regular practices but the sudden imposition of lockdown took us to zero as we couldn’t go on the ground.
“When we started again from the scratch, another lockdown was imposed and we were back to square one. But with Olympics being so close in front of our sights, we were determined to get ourselves through a little trouble to get there. We tried to keep ourselves fit with whatever exercises we could do at home,” Arokia told SportTiger’s interview series Mission Gold on Tuesday.
“After a few months, AFI (Athletics Federation of India) sent us to Patiala where we practiced for a year to prepare for competitions. Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 cases in India kept increasing and many countries banned to-and-fro flights from India and hence we couldn’t get opportunities to participate in many competitions.”
But with Tokyo 2020 now a reality, Arokia is set to live his dream for the second time in the coming weeks.
“I feel very good having qualified for Tokyo Olympics. Though there weren’t any competitions in 2018 but (we) were the best performers in 2019 which ensured a top-16 finish for us. And again, there was a break in 2020, but in 2021, we participated in a few competitions and clocked in good timings resulting in our qualification for Tokyo,” added Arokia.
The 30-year old has learnt a lesson from past mistakes and wants to secure a medal in Tokyo.
“Our aim is to perform to the best of our abilities and to give our 100 per cent on track. It’s a big event and we lacked experience the last time around (in 2016 Rio). We are working on our weak points and learning from the mistakes we committed in the past and improving them. We are going there as a team and we have to work together. I’m the senior-most in the team, so I’ve more responsibilities. I have to give my best and also bring a medal for the country.”