We got a chance to speak to CWG Silver Medalist Abdulla Aboobacker Narangolintevid. Here’s what he had to say about his preparation, the WCH and training.
ISH: This season has been a successful season till now. Could you brief us on what changes did you bring in?
Abdulla: Till last year I was practicing at the Air Force grounds. With good performances since last year I was called upon to the National Camp and for the past year have been practicing at SAI Bengaluru which has got excellent facilities.
ISH: Could you brief us on your experience at the World Championships which was also your 1st Foreign meet?
Abdulla : Couldn’t give my best at the World Championships. I along with Praveen was scheduled to practice at Chula Vista 2 to 3 weeks prior to the Championships but the problem was I couldn’t accompany my coach there. I used to WhatsApp my coach on what needs to be done in training. I couldn’t keep track of my body condition and started feeling weak. The weather was totally different from that of India.
On social media, started getting texts about what happened to my performance. The problem is not many knew that I had difficulties with the weather, and recovery process and also with the non availability of coach at my first foreign meet nothing had gone my way.
ISH: There was only a gap of about 2-3 weeks to participate in CWG. How did you motivate yourself after WCH?
Abdulla: After the WCH I felt that my explosive power and speed had dropped considerably. I always had a good runway but that also was not up to the mark. Then I had a brief interaction with my coach about all the difficulties that I was facing. My coach used to come on the video call at around 2 AM (IST) to help me with my training. Slowly I started to get back to my normal getting back to my normal speed.
During the Triple Jump event, I lost my energy in the warmup as the temperature was around 11 to 12 degrees so now I had to save my energy and jump well. After 4 jumps I thought I couldn’t get to the medal position. But before the 5th jump got to recall back my coach’s motivational words and with all my energy left jumped to a distance of 17.02m to claim the silver medal. During this jump, I placed my right hand a bit backward which could have been avoided and possibly could have got 17.10m and the gold as well.
Courtesy The Indian Express
Also what worked in my favor was I did not get scared at the CWG games since I competed along with world-class athletes at the WCH the field will be less competitive at CWG with only a few countries taking part.
ISH: How did you feel when you finished 2nd and fell short by just 0.01m at the CWG 2022?
Abdulla : One day prior to the event we were discussing that somehow we should get to the podium. In the end, we are representing our country so him getting gold was special. As I said earlier I put all my power left in the 5th jump so couldn’t put in much effort in the 6th attempt.
After coming back to India I came to know the value of a gold medal and the importance of that 0.01m. ( Gold ka value mujhe India aane par pata chala).
Source Pro Kerala
People were like you got a silver medal good but when you win gold the appreciation is totally different (laughs).
ISH: Do you have any plans to compete in future foreign meets?
Abdulla : Definitely from next year, there are plans to attend the foreign meets to get a good exposure. In India, the problem is even if I jump 17m the points don’t increase as the majority of the events are in the F category leaving aside interstates (B category). We directly go to the World Championships without knowing about other athletes and what their capability is and compete with them which doesn’t work out.
Courtesy The Bridge
Karthik is an example where he had jumped 17.10m but couldn’t improve his rankings. Had he done this in a foreign meet he would have qualified for WCH with his rankings. Also competing along with Pichardo or Diaz is altogether a different experience where we get to interact with them and share valuable inputs. As of now, we are planning for a few foreign meets next year as I may get also get into the TOPS scheme by next month helping me financially.
ISH: We (India) now have good depth in Triple Jump with you, Eldhose, Karthik, and Praveen Chitravel competing fiercely. How do guys help each other?
Abdulla : I, Eldhose and Karthik are in the same camp and Praveen trains separately. Karthik bhaiya is also my room partner. All three of us train together and help each other with our techniques during the training and jumps.
We set up a few challenges among ourselves like we set a standard and if anyone achieves that mark in the training they have to give a treat like buying Ice cream something very funny.
We have a very healthy fight during the competitions and share our thoughts after the meet gets over. We work as a team is what I think has worked out well for us rather than training individually. In the end, the standard of the Triple Jump must increase is what is the ultimate goal.
ISH: A few years back there was only Arpinder Singh performing well in TJ. What changes do you see now as we have many performing well?
Abdulla : Arpinder Singh had good speed and was jumping around the 17m mark. I thought that it is very difficult to get to that mark. But during a meet, I jumped a distance of 16.84m. Then I thought I was just 16cm short of the 17m and got a lot of confidence. It is just to do with the mindset and if we have it fixed anything is achievable.
Source : outlook
As I said earlier we three were jumping around the 16.80m and were helping out with our minor mistakes. Getting a good team has really helped us to achieve the 17m mark. But I am not sure how Arpinder could perform well alone.
ISH : Recently Selva Prabhu won the silver medal at U20 WC in Cali. Your take on how he has been progressing.
Abdulla : He became the 1st Indian to win a medal in TJ at the Junior Championships which was a great thing and felt very happy. I got a chance to meet him in person during the Grand Prix in Bhubaneshwar apart from that have not had interaction with him.
The quality of the juniors is also increasing. With a 16.15m, he now has to transition well at the senior level. Would like him to train with a few experienced players so that he gets to learn from them. Gailey Venister also trains with us and has been improving at a good pace. We help him out with what mistakes he is doing. This is how we build the culture and help juniors to transition in a better way.
From now on what I would tell the Juniors is that they also should set the mark as 17m at the same time should be consistent too. Jumping 17m only once and then performing poor in the other jumps will not work out.
Consistency is very important for any athlete to succeed
ISH: The Entry standards for the next WC in Hungary are out and for Triple Jump, the Qualifying mark is 17.20m. This is a 0.6m increase from last year. Have you started preparing for this?
Abdulla : To be honest I am busy attending the felicitations. Will need to get back to proper training after a week or so. There has been an increase in the number of spots from 32 to 36 next year which should benefit many.
Regarding the Qualifying mark, I have already reached 17.19m before this year but as I said earlier the points do not change drastically with good performances as well. Getting a 17.10m in a foreign meet is far greater than achieving it in India as it adds quality points and also helps rank higher.
ISH : The NR stands at 17.30m. When can we see you break the NR?
Abdulla : I do not have anything in my mind as of now breaking the NR. My only aim is to jump consistently in the 17m mark.
ISH : Will you be participating in the National Games?
Abdulla : Thinking of not participating this time at the National games as I am not at my best in terms of body condition and recovery due to felicitation. But if I am told to compulsorily participate in representing Services then will have to look at it.
First, have to get back to my full fitness and work in the off-season which is the 1st priority.
ISH : Recently Murali Sreeshankar in an interview said that he had to forego Kerala Barotta till he achieves something big at the Olympics. Did you have to compromise something similar?
Abdulla : I usually maintain a good diet by eating oily food on very rare occasions. I like eating all kinds of food but maintaining the diet is also equally important which I do simultaneously without compromising on my favorite food.
ISH : What do you do in your leisure time?
Abdulla : Apart from training if I get time, I play games along with reading books and take photoshoots. Occasionally I watch movies and the recent one I watched was Minnal Mural of Tovino Thomas who is one of my favorite actors.