India’s Murali Sreeshankar and Jeswin Aldrin qualified for the final of the men’s long jump event here at the Hangzhou Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
After one of the Games’ hottest days so far on Friday, the temperature dropped again, and the athletes were greeted by overcast, chilly conditions before the start of their event.
But that didn’t stop both jumpers from seeing themselves through to the medals round. Sreeshankar needed just a single jump of 7.97m to get the qualification mark against his name. Jeswin, however, had two foul jumps before registering 7.67m off his third effort. Jeswin shook his head in disappointment, but the number proved to be enough for his place in the final.
Sreeshankar’s jump was the second-best among the 12 finalists behind China’s Yuhao Shi (8.14m), while Aldrin’s was the sixth on the list. The Indian pair have the top two jumps of the season among the finalists but endured a disappointing World Championships outing last month.
Yarraji, Ramaraj in women’s 100m hurdles final
Jyothi Yarraji and Nithya Ramaraj booked their places in the final of the women’s 100m hurdles. Jyothi, India’s fastest hurdler in the women’s division, earned automatic qualification from second place in her heats with a timing of 13.03s, behind China’s Yuwei Lin (12.79s).
Nithya finished fifth in her heats and moved into the final with the second-fastest time (13.30s) after the three automatic qualifiers.
Jyothi clocked the third-best time in the starting list of 10 behind China’s Lin and Wu Yanni (12.80s) while Nithya’s season-best time is ranked eighth. Jyothi, who has seven sub-13 timings this season and a personal best of 12.78s at the World University Games in Chengdu last month, will be pushing to be in the podium places in the final.
In the men’s 1500m, both Ajay Kumar Saroj (3:51.93) and Jinson Johnson (3:56.22) have also qualified for the final. Ajay Kumar, who was slow to react to the race start, managed to keep pace with the pack before switching it on in the final 400 meters to move into second and cross the line in second behind Saudi Arabia’s Raed Khairallah Aljadani (3:51.80). Ajay, whose personal best of 3:38.24 at the World Championships in Budapest is the best timing of all 12 finalists, will be among the favourites to take gold on Sunday.
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