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Jaipur, Jul 21 (PTI) Indian sprinter Arokia Rajiv feels the country will 'definitely' better its 2012 Olympics medal count in the Tokyo Games.
The 30-year-old Rajiv is part of the 4x400m relay team and will be leaving with the 26-member squad for the Japanese capital on Friday.
'We will definitely beat our 2012 London Olympics medal count in Tokyo 2020,' said the Arjuna Awardee on SportTiger's special interview series 'Mission Gold'.
Rajiv said the COVID-19 pandemic created a lot of obstacles for the athletes but they managed to keep their preparation on track for the showpiece event.
'The pandemic made us mentally disturbed, somehow we have managed to fight against it but it had left its impact on our minds,' he said.
'We had regular practices but the sudden imposition of lockdown took us to zero as we couldn't go on the ground and when we started again from the scratch another lockdown was imposed and we were back to square one.
'But with Olympics being so close 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. After a few months, AFI sent us to Patiala where we practised for a year to prepare for competitions.' On qualifying for the Olympics, Rajiv said: 'Though there weren't any competitions in 2018 the best performers in 2019 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 Olympics.' The 30-year-old just doesn't want to stop at qualifying for the Olympics as he is determined to secure a medal.
'We lacked experience the last time around. 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.' Rajiv also remembered the time when he got an opportunity to meet the legendary Milkha Singh, who died recently.
'He motivated us during his visit. I have also watched his movie which was highly motivational and we learned a lot from his mistakes. He was a huge figure in the world of athletics and a really down to earth person.' PTI AH ATK ATK