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‘Running has the power to bring the community together’

Kolkata, December 14: Tata Steel Kolkata 25K 2023 Event Ambassador and former Welsh 110m hurdles world record holder Colin Jackson today said the Indian athletes participating at the 2024 Paris Olympics must not get intimidated by the hype and the environment, rather concentrate on their preparations.

Here in Kolkata for the eighth edition of Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, Colin, who won a silver medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, also termed India a “sleeping giant” in world athletics.

He was overwhelmed to see the response from the city and wished the participants the very best.

“India is indeed a sleeping giant in World Athletics. India have performed well at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and also at the Olympics recently. I would advice to the youngsters that this sport is for you, don’t shy away from it, grab it and go for the win. It is about staying focused and giving your best on the particular day,” Jackson said.

“The most important thing for the Indian athletes is not to get intimidated by the environment at the Olympics. It is important to take it as any other event, not to think it is Olympics and put more burden on oneself. I will advice them to take Olympics as any other competition.

“There will be several top, athletes at the Olympics, so to give your best and perform is important. Take it as you are running at World Championship or Diamond League or any other event. Keep your preparations well and train normally and not too hard,” the 56-year-old added.

Jackson, who also won two World Championship titles in 1993 and 1999, feels India’s Tokyo Olympics hero Neeraj Chopra will give his all to defend his Javelin Gold at the Paris Olympics.

“He (Neeraj) is really focused and committed. He has clear perspective and pure quality which excites me a lot about him. To be able to defend your title at the Olympics will be a great achievement for him. I think he needs to stay calm and do what he has been doing till date,” he said.

Speaking about his association with TSK 25K, the sprinter said, “It is a moment of great pride to be associated with TSK 25K. I hope on Sunday it will be a great race. I am looking forward to the race day and I wish the runners the very best.”

“For me participating in a World Championship would be same as Olympics, that’s what gave me longevity. For me there was no favoritism, it is about giving the best on the given day. Success changes all the time. For me success is about leaving the positive legacy behind you that makes one successful.

“The fact is that running has the power to bring the community together. And that’s the beauty of this sport. It’s inclusive and all are one,” he signed-off.