Super Sreeshankar delivers record leap

M Sreeshankar leaps to the long jump gold.

At the very end of a tough season, M Sreeshankar produced his absolute best, leaping to a national record in long jump with an amazing performance on the third day of the 58th National Open athletics championships here.

The 19-year-old from Kerala kicked the sand at 8.20m, erasing the mark of 8.19 m set by Ankit Sharma in Almaty in 2016.

Sreeshankar’s effort is the best by an under-20 athlete in the world this season. It is the fourth best in Asia and 17th in the world.

Sreeshankar had started the season promisingly with a 7.99m leap at the Federation Cup in Patiala. He earned selection to the Commonwealth Games also but had to miss it after undergoing an appendectomy. 

He fought his way back but could not win a medal at the Asian Games. On this day, he was a determined performer, coming up with a superb series in a competition that saw other jumpers also raising the bar in fine fashion.

Sreeshankar, son of former international triple jumper Murali and 800M runner Bijimol, began the competition strongly, clearing 7.95m in his very first jump. After fouling his second jump, he set a new personal best of 8.11m in his third attempt, the longest ever recorded in the country. After another foul in his fourth attempt, he set the new national record in his penultimate attempt. Sreeshankar was followed on the podium by Services athlete V O Jinesh who jumped 7.95m. That effort was better than the previous meet record of 7.87m set by Ankit Sharma at the 2014 edition in New Delhi. The bronze medal went to Haryana’s Sahil Mahabali who produced a personal best of 7.81m.

Sreeshankar was not even sure of taking part after suffering from a severe bout of vomiting since Wednesday morning. “I had a terrible headache also and had decided to pull out but the coaches urged me to give it a shot as I had prepared well. Since I didn’t have any expectations, I could perform well,” said the 19-year-old.

Karnataka’s Khyati Vakharia won the women’s pole vault with a clearance of 4.00 metres while her state-mate Maria Jaison claimed the bronze at 3.70. Another bright performance on the day came through Murli Kumar Gavit who completed a golden double, winning the 5000m to add to the 10000m he won on the first day.

Results: Men: 5000M: Murli Kumar Gavit (Gujarat) 14:35.96, 1; Abhishek Pal (Railways) 14:36.62, 2; Man Singh (Services) 14:37.18, 3.

Shot put: Praveen (Services) 18.76 metres, 1; Jasdeep Singh (Punjab) 18.73, 2; Sunil Kumar (Railways) 18.09, 3.

Long jump: Sreeshankar M (Kerala) 8.20 metres (National record. Old: 8.19, Ankit Sharma, Almaty 2016), 1; Jinesh V O (Services) 7.95, 2; Sahil Mahabali (Haryana) 7.81, 3. Hammer throw: Taranveer Singh (Services) 63.12 metres, 1; Damneet Singh (ONGC) 62.27, 2; Sukhdev Singh (Railways) 61.56, 3.

4x100M relay: Railways 40.54, 1; Punjab 40.79, 2; Manipur 40.96, 3.

Women: 5000M: L Surya (Railways) 16:10.35, 1; Parul Chaudhary (Railways) 16:13.88, 2; Monika Athare (LIC) 16:24.42, 3.

Pole vault: Khyati Vakharia (Karnataka) 4.00 metres, 1; Krishna Rachan (Railways) 3.95, 2; Maria Jaison (Karnataka) 3.70, 3.

Discus throw: Kamalpreet Kaur (Railways) 56.11 metres, 1; Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (Railways) 54.84, 2; Sandeep Kumari (Railways) 53.96, 3.

4x100M relay: Tamil Nadu 46.03 seconds, 1; Railways 46.38, 2; Maharashtra 47.12, 3.

20km walk: Ravina (Haryana) 1:42:32.00, 1; Priyanka (Railways) 1:45:32.00, 2; Vandana (Chandigarh) 1:49:25.00, 3.

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