Long jumper Murali Sreeshankar keen to gain rhythm in upcoming events

New Delhi, Jun 1 (PTI) A gold in an international event in Greece last week has boosted his confidence but top Indian long jumper Murali Sreeshankar on Thursday admitted that he is yet to gain his full rhythm and wants to sort it out soon.

The 24-year-old Sreeshankar on May 24 won gold in International Jumping Meeting at Kallithea near Athens, a Wold Athletics Continental Tour bronze-level competition, with a season’s best jump of 8.18m.

Sreeshankar missed this year’s World Athletics Championships qualifying standard of 8.25m though he has a good chance of qualifying for the showpiece event in Budapest in August. He is currently at the 18th place in World Athletics’ Road to Budapest where 36 athletes will compete in the men’s long jump.

“I have not been able to execute exactly as we planned (in Greece)…I was not quite able to get into my rhythm. I had to keep my approach more in front (as) I was lacking speed. I have to put in more effort getting into the rhythm.” “Right now my main focus will be to get the rhythm right on the approach, that’s what I’m lacking a bit. We are trying to figure out how I can improve my last phase of the approach and overall rhythm so that I will be able to execute the take-off properly.” Sreeshankar, who has a personal best of 8.36m, will compete in the Paris Diamond League on June 9, where he will go up against the best athletes from across the globe.

“I had competed in two meets prior (to Greece) as preparatory competitions to check where my body stood at that time. The competitive phase of the season has just started (so) I didn’t quite intend to push hard.

“So, in the next couple of competitions, I think I’ll be able to get into the rhythm better and go for big jumps as I ease my body and mind into a competitive mode,” the athlete from Kerala said.

Sreeshankar, who is supported by Inspire Institute of Sports, said 8.20m was his target in Greece but he failed to hit the mark.

“Usually during competitions, my approach used to move back by around 30 or 40 centimetres but this time around, it came in front like 20-30 centimetres.

“The wind played a major part on the day and this was the first time in Kallithea that we faced a headwind. Usually, we have a good tailwind and the day before when we had the warm-up, the conditions were quite ideal.” Sreeshankar also spoke about the hectic competitive season ahead.

“This season is pretty challenging because the Asian Games will be happening in the first week of October and the Asian Games qualifiers will take place in the first week of June,” said Sreeshankar, who is coached by his father S Murali, a former South Asian Games medallist in triple jump.

“We have to plan the season carefully so that we could maintain form and sustain the performances till the Asian Games. We have the World Championships in August, the Asian Championships in July, so we have to prioritise the events which we have to focus on and give our best towards the main competition, which will be the World Championships.”

Source: PTI News


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