Sreeshankar gets into 8.50m form, confident of big jumps this season

If Sreeshankar can indeed produce an 8.50m jump, he will break the Asian men’s record of 8.48m which has been held by Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al Khuwalidi for the last 13 years.

M. Sreeshankar's father S. Murali, who is also his coach, is confident of his ward hitting the 8.50m mark this season.   -  SHAJI MULLOOKARAN

He may not have won a major international medal last year but long jumper M. Sreeshankar is gearing up for some big jumps this season.

The 20-year-old, who missed last year’s Commonwealth Games with an appendix surgery and struggled at the Asian Games with run-up issues, came up with a national record-breaking 8.20m at the season-ending National Open in Bhubaneswar in September and appears to be in sublime form now.

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“He is in terrific shape, he is in 8.50m form,” his father, former international S. Murali tells Sportstar from Palakkad on Thursday.

“This year, we will get that 8.50m jump somewhere. He has already done four to five jumps above 8.20m in training during the last few weeks and has one above 8.30m. That means he could be doing something like 8.50m in major competitions,” explained Murali.

M. Sreeshankar trains with his father S. Murali in Palakkad.   -  SHAJI MULLOOKARAN

 

If he can indeed achieve such a feat, it could place Sreeshankar among the world’s top three male jumpers this season. And with the Asian Championships (in April) and the Worlds (Sept.-Oct.) coming up in Doha, the youngster will have a chance to brush away last year’s disappointments.

If Sreeshankar can indeed produce an 8.50m jump, he will break the Asian men’s record of 8.48m which has been held by Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al Khuwalidi for the last 13 years.

Sreeshankar has a lot to be happy this year. A few weeks ago, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) officially made his dad Murali his personal coach with the approval of the Railways, his employer.

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The national track and field season for seniors opens with the Indian Grand Prix in Patiala on Saturday but Sreeshankar has opted for a March 2 start at Sangrur (in Punjab, Indian GP-3).

Sreeshankar in action at the 2018 Asian Games.   -  AFP

“We had had booked our flight tickets for Patiala but I had a slight heel pain and my dad was suddenly down with viral fever, so we changed our plans,” said Sreeshankar.

“I’ve had some very good jumps in training, I’m hopeful of doing a big one this year. But I want my heel to heal completely. I didn’t want to take any chance,” said the youngster.