Jumping tips from the King

Up in the air : Have fun and enjoy what you do, says legend Powell

Jumping tips from the King

 How do you jump like Mike Powell? How do you soar high – high enough to be among the stars?

There is no magic formula but tap his brain and Powell certainly will spell out a tip or two that will send you on the way.

The king of long jump is as good a teacher as he is an entertainer. On Friday morning, a bunch of enthusiastic kids were the beneficiaries as the American gave an insight into the mind of a champion at a clinic at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

At the ‘Jump the Gun with Mike Powell,’ organised on the sidelines of TCS World 10K, the world record holder shared space with champion Indian long jumper Anju George, former internationals Satish Pillai, Pramila Aiyappa and coaches VR Beedu, GV Gaonkar, Captain C Muralidharan, Robert George and BP Aiyappa, interacting with the young athletes, guiding and inspiring them.

“The main thing is to have fun and enjoy what you are doing,” Powell told the kids. “If you don’t have fun, even if you win, who cares? Show your per­sonality. Look at me, I am a big kid, I just happen to be 52...”

Powell reminded the youngsters that making mistakes was part of the deal. “You learn from mistakes, don’t get upset when you make a mistake, for it is part of a process,” he said.

Hard work and focus, the mantras during his prime, found echo at the Kanteerava as well. “The best thing is to fall in love with the process,” he stressed. “Get better every day, little by little. Then when you go to a competition, you know you are ready, because you have worked hard. Work hard, do something till it’s done, don’t give up, take pride in what you do.”

Bobby and Anju recalled the time they spent training with Powell in the US. “He will get up and as the sun rises, his energy levels go up,” said Anju, India’s only medallist at the World Championships.

“We used to have long training sessions under hot sun, sometimes single sessions from 9.30 to 4.30,” said Bobby. “He used to drive 50-60 miles daily to pick us up for training sessions.”

Who was your inspiration? What motivated you? What drives you on? Questions came thick and fast. Powell had answers for all, even to a curious kid who seemed confused by the 52-year-old’s physical features.

Are you an Indian or an American, he asked. “I like it here,” Powell replied. “Everyone has dark skin here, like me. You can consider me as an honorary Indian for a week.”

Mike’s wishes for Anju academy

Anju George, India’s long jump ace, will open a jumps academy soon and Powell conveyed his wishes for the venture.

“I am happy to hear that Anju is opening an academy,” said Powell, who had coached Anju in 2003. “All my wishes are with Anju and Bobby in their venture. You should treasure her, you have to make use of her knowledge,” added the world record holder.

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