Ram Singh Yadav backed himself when it came to the crunch, at the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2012.
The Indian armyman plotted his own assault on the IAAF ‘B' grade qualifying time for the 2012 London Olympics (two hours and 18 minutes), striding at his own pace and running down the clock in 2:16:59.
“I qualified on my own ability. Last time when I missed qualification by seconds, I was not given a second chance. Let us see what decision awaits me now,” said the winner among Indian elite runners and 12th overall this year.
He was the fastest Indian in SCMM 2008 with 2:18:23, short of the Olympic qualifying ‘B' standard of 2:18, and so was absent for the 2008 Beijing Games.
Yadav has asserted his form at the right time for London 2012. “I am not satisfied with this performance. Shivnath Singh's 2:12:00 is my aim,” he said, referring to the India great.
The late Shivnath had stunned the world with bold running at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, clocking 2:16:22. Yadav crossed the qualification hurdle after 36 years, though with 2:16:59 as his career-best, still has some catching up to do.
“This achievement is for my family and Army Sports Institute, whose training facility got me to this level,” he observed.
Yadav's Mumbai run was the first marathon after 45 days training at a high-altitude training centre in Coonoor, Ooty.
ASI marathon coach K.S. Mathews, under whom Yadav trains, pointed out that more Indians can go under the 2:18 standard.
He added, “We have Satyaprakash who has done 2:17. He will be sent for the Singapore Marathon. India has a minimum of four runners with the capability of qualifying for London 2012. We need to assess them against superior competition.”
Elam Singh finished 15th overall on Sunday (2:18:27), missing the chance to book a London berth by just 27 seconds.