The Long Jump and Triple Jump in India are fast developing and evolving, especially in the men’s section.
Writer : M Sudharshan
The growth has been slow and steady since the Rio Olympics, but in the last couple of years, there looks to be good depth which is an encouraging sign for Athletics in India.
Sreeshankar Murali since 2018 has been progressing at a good pace in Long Jump. He first broke the 8.00m barrier at the Indian Open National Championship, 2018 at the age of 19. He even participated in Asian Games before taking the 6th spot with a jump of 6.95m. The year 2018 was just the start of his successful career.
He then qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a jump of 8.26m (NR) at the Federation Cup in Patiala but couldn’t achieve big at the Tokyo Olympics due to injuries and lack of exposure. Since then he has had a good off-season looking into his fitness and training. He then broke his own NR with a jump of 8.36m again in the Federation Cup.
World lead 2022
After this to get more adapted to outside conditions he is on the European trip where he stood 1 st with a jump of 8.31m at the 12th Jumps Meeting, Greece. This is a big boost considering the conditions and the quality of the event.
Jeswin Aldrin (21) JSW-backed athlete had recently welcomed himself with a huge jump of 8.36m at the Fed Cup but was denied the NR as the wind speed was beyond +2m/s. This didn’t hamper his other jumps as he had his next best jump at 8.26m qualifying him for the World Athletics Championship at Oregan. This is the 1 st time that two men Long Jumpers from India would be participating in the same event.
Since his U20 days, Jeswin would jump close to the 7.5m mark on a consistent basis. This made AFI concentrate more on him producing good results in the recently held Fed Cup. AFI recently brought in a Cuban coach Betanzos who is a two time World Championship medalist and played a major part in improving his technique. Jeswin has been below par in the 2 European tours he has attended to date but nevertheless, this is his first exposure trip and would help him get a good experience.
Md Anees Yahiya another Long Jumper who is a regular to the 8.00m mark has been in the scenes since last year. In the recently held Grand Prix, he won Gold with the jump of 8.15m. He has not attended any foreign tours yet but will be a good prospect and add to the depth of the Long Jump in India.
Renjith Maheswari and Arpinder Singh were the only two athletes to cross the 17.00m mark till the IGP3 was held. Aboobacker and Unnikrishnan from Kerala became the third and fourth athletes from India to breach the 17m mark simultaneously in the single event with the former with a jump of 17.19m and the latter with 17.10m.
The qualification for World Championship is 17.14m. K.Unnikrishnan missed the mark by 0.04m. He has been consistent with the 16.80m since 2019 and had just missed out on Tokyo Olympics by a few rating points.
Here are the details of the world lead in 2022.
The other athletes who have been performing consistently are Eldhose Paul and the young Praveen Chitravel. Eldhose Paul has been consistently crossing the 16.90m since the start of 2022. Since March he has won 3 gold medals with jumps of 16.93m, 16.95m, and 16.99m. He is not far to be the 5 th Indian to cross the 17.00m mark and looks to close the mark soon.
Praveen Chitravel since Sept 2021 has crossed the 16.80m twice at the Nation Open and at the Fed Cup. He is now on a foreign trip to Europe where he finished 6 th with a jump of 16.19m. Though not a great effort this being is his first foreign trip will help him gain more experience.
With World Athletic Championships in couple of months followed by Commonwealth Games its an interesting phase for the Athletics followers in India. One can expect to see more than one Indian not only competing but also making the finals and eventually vouch for Medals.
The Gold Medal in CWG 2018 was won at 16.88m which was way lower than the lead jump of 17.95 then so India remains a strong contender in 2022 Triple Jump event wherein India missed the bronze by few centimeteres. While in long jump the Gold Medal went at 8.41m which was much closer to the world lead that year of 8.68m. India had no participant in that games in this event but one can expect a good performance from the young brigade.
Before the CWG 2018 the World Championships will be a good outing for all the jumpers to check where they stand in comparison to the world.