Bengaluru, February 28: As the stage is set for the World Indoor Championships beginning in Birmingham on Thursday (March 1), history beckons India's Siddhanth Thingalaya.
The 26-year-old is set to become the first Indian to compete in the 60M hurdles event at the World Indoor Championships.
Thanks Mr @Ra_THORe and Team @afiindia for giving me an opportunity to participate in World indoor Championship, Birmingham. Being the only Indian to represent our country in 60 mtr Hurdle event. encourages me to put more efforts to bring glory to India🇮🇳 Jai Hind #sidhurdler— Siddhanth Thingalaya (@sidhurdler) February 21, 2018
The Mumbaikar currently holds the national record of 7.70sec in 60M indoor hurdles, which he had set at UW preview meet at Seattle, Washington, in January, 2017.
He also holds the national record of 13.48sec in 110M hurdles, registered at Altis Invitational Meet, USA, in June, 2017.
In Birmingham, Siddhanth has his task cut out as he will be up against an elite field comprising the likes of Christian Coleman, Ronnie Baker and Bingtian Su. In short, three of the top seven 60M hurdlers of all times are in the fray.
But instead of being overawed by the occassion, Siddanth is looking at the larger picture ahead -- that of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"Indoor race is good to improve the start off the block. Moreover, I'll get to know my rivals better as the ones racing here would be also turning up for the next Olympics," Siddanth was quoted as saying in the local media.
Having missed out on qualifying for the 2016 Rio Games, Siddanth has set Tokyo 2020 on top of his agenda and he feels a good performance in Birmingham would just be the launch pad that he needs in his fledgling career.
"All this work I'm doing is done with Tokyo in mind," added Siddanth, who does most of his training in California.
2018 is an important year for Siddanth with some important competitions like the Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast, Australia, April 4-15) and Asian Games (Jakarta, Indonesia, August 18 to September 2) coming up.
After the conclusion of the three-day World Indoor Championships, Siddanth is also expected to compete in the Federation Cup, to be held from March 5 to 8 in Patiala, which is incidentally, the final selection trials for the Commonwealth Games.
"Tokyo is my ultimate aim," was all Siddanth would say when asked about the crowded schedule.