Binning Lyngkhoi aims to achieve Olympic mark in Mumbai

Indian category's defending champ Lyngkhoi looks to qualify for Olympics in the prestigious event on Sunday

Defending champion and elite Indian athlete Binning Lyngkhoi sets his eyes on qualifying for the London Olympics with a better performance in the ninth edition of the Mumbai Marathon.

Vijay Amritraj (right) greets defending champion Binning Lyngkhoi 
(2nd from right) yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate

After having won in the 2010 and 2011 editions, the 27-year-old athlete will aim for a hat trick this year. Binning clocked his personal best of 2:17.33 at the Guwahati Marathon last year.

"This is a very important year for me. I will try and get my timing under 2:17 minutes on Sunday, so that I can qualify for the London Olympics. I have worked hard for it and hope I qualify here only," said Binning, who hails from a small town in Meghalaya.

Binning is confident that the 40-day high-altitude training in Ooty will certainly help him on Sunday. "Unlike the International athletes, we do not have any pace setters. But I hope to complete 21 kms in 1hr, 07 minutes, if I want to improve my timing. I'm confident that the 40-day gruelling high-altitude training in Ooty will help me defend my title," he said.

Not many people know that Binning started off playing football before joining the Army. "Running is not popular in Meghalaya, but football is. Like all other kids, I grew up playing football and played at a competitive level," added Binning.

But he felt sad when he heard about Baichung Bhutia's retirement. "I think Baichung can never be replaced by anybody. The day I came to know that he has announced his retirement I felt sad. But I will never forget his advice -- If you want to excel in any sport, give your heart and soul to it."

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