Mohan Kumar upbeat about going to Rio

Mohan Kumar has been selected as the fifth member of Indian men's 4x400m relay team for the Rio Olympics.

Mohan Kumar from Tamil Nadu will be travelling with the India athletics team to Rio for the Summer Olympics.   -  R. Ragu

R. Mohan Kumar didn’t think he would go to Rio Olympic Games when he was selected to undergo training in Poland and take part in competitions in a bid to qualify for the quadrennial event. When he finally made the cut, it felt doubly sweet.

The 20-year-old quartermiler from Chennai was picked for training after he finished in the top eight at the Federation Cup held in New Delhi in April. “I was the eighth athlete then. From there to be in the 4x400m relay team to Rio as the fifth member is a dream come true. I am excited,” Mohan told Sportstar on Thursday.

“When selected in April, I was doubtful of my abilities and wondered whether I would be able to do well. But everyone, including senior athletes like Arokia Rajiv, Kunhu Mohammed, Mohammed Anas and the coaches motivated me.”

The one-month training in Spala, Poland, according to Mohan, was the turning point in his life. “Spala is a village with lots of trees and in the middle was the track. The weather was cool, there was no pollution and the support staff was good. The training facilities were excellent and that helped us to perform well,” said Mohan.

Mohan elaborated on the training programme in Poland: “Yuri sir (Ogorodonik) would give us the schedule and Kunhi Mohammmed would train us accordingly. We used to run 500m, 300m, 350m and our coach recorded our timings after every 100m. That helped us improve our speed.”

The athlete said training with his good friend and rival Dharun enabled him to put his best foot forward. “We have been running in several State competitions for the last two to three years. While I start well, Dharun is a good finisher. He has a good drive in his legs,” he said.

A student of D.G. Vaishnav College, Mohan is coached by M.V. Rajasekhar.