He might be kicking himself whenever he thinks about the missed opportunities at the recent World Athletics Championships, but M. Sreesankar doesn’t show it.
The national record holder (8.36m) started as one of the favorites for a medal at the Worlds. He became the first Indian long jumper to qualify for the final but failed to clear the bar and finished seventh in Oregon with 7.96m.
“It’s a good opportunity at Worlds. I didn’t connect the jumps properly in the final, made some technical mistakes,” Commonwealth Games No. 1 jumper Sreesankar said in a chat with TheHindufrom Birmingham on Thursday.
The 23-year-old has shown what he’s capable of over the past few years, but he hasn’t been able to reproduce the big jumps in the majors. He finished seventh at the indoor worlds earlier this year, failing to make the finals at last year’s Tokyo Olympics. and sixth at the 2019 Worlds and 2018 Asian Games and Under-20 Worlds.
“All small steps towards a big goal… I’m in the mix right now. They will do well here,” said Sreesankar, joint world number 2 this year with Greece’s Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou and China’s world champion Jiananwang.
Wang has had a terrible year and had just one open competition (7.67m) before Oregon. The Chinese, who had a personal best of 8.03m until the fifth round, cleared a whopping 8.36m in his final jump to clinch the Worlds gold.
Is Srishankar looking for such luck?
“Wong is not lucky, he has been jumping well in the past. He just got his technique right at the right time,” Sreesankar said.
“He deserves it, he’s been 4th, 5th, 6th so many times. Finally, he came out on top.
Srishankar was one of three Commonwealth jumpers to enter the Worlds final, the others being Australian Henry Frain (12th at 7.80m) and Jamaican Wayne Pinnock (9th, 7.88m). However, Pinnock was not named in the Jamaican squad for Birmingham.
Freinehad won silver at the last Commonwealth Games with 8.33m.
Sreeshankarsdad and coach S. Murali opined.
“8.10 meters can bring gold and silver and bronze could be between 7.92 and 8 meters. The competition will be good, there is an Australian (Frane), a South African and our own Muhammad Anees,” Murali said.