City hurdler Siddhant Thingalaya is glad to have qualified for next month's Asian Games after equalling his own national record in the men's 110m hurdles, clocking 13.65 sec at the Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships in Patiala on Tuesday.
The other occasion when he matched this timing was in Brussels in 2012. Thingalaya's effort also bettered his own meet record of 13.69 sec. The 23-year-old is now looking ahead at the challenges that await him in Incheon (Korea) next month.
"The qualification for the Asian Games is just the beginning. I am hoping for a medal in Incheon," he said on arrival from Patiala.
Thereafter, he wants to impress at the World Championships that will take place in Beijing next year. "My ultimate aim is to break the world record of 12.80 sec held by Aries Merritt of the USA."
In 2012, Thingalaya missed the Olympic 'B' qualification mark by 0.5 seconds due to a hamstring injury. This year too, he narrowly missed out on a place in the finals of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow by finishing third in his heats.
"I have had issues with my hamstring for sometime. But it is much better now. I need to stay tall and run faster if I want to improve my timing. I am in constant touch with my coaches — Australia's Sharon Hannan and USA's Darrell Smith — who monitor my workouts.
I trained under Darrell in the USA from January to May this year, and I can see a lot of difference in myself. But, the training wouldn't have been possible without the funding of Jindal Steel Works (JSW)," said the 6'3" tall athlete.