Kerala has a long tradition of producing quality long-jumpers. From T.C. Yohannan and S. Suresh Babu to the current National record-holder M. Sreesankar, the State has produced some outstanding champions.
Y. Muhammed Anees, who was adjudged the best male athlete at the Calicut University inter-collegiate athletics championship which concluded here on Wednesday, is determined to join that elite list. “My aim is to break the National record (8.20m) recently by Sreesankar,” he told Sportstar . “I was hoping to cross 8 metre at this meet, but I wasn't at my best, because of an ankle injury.”
The Sree Krishna College (Guruvayur) student, however, broke his own meet record, with a jump of 7.78m. His previous record 7.69m, set two years ago.
His personal best stands at 7.80m, which he recorded at the Indian Grand Prix meet in 2016 at Bengaluru, where he won the gold.
Anees, who hails from Nilamel (Kollam district), became an athlete inspired by his elder brother Muhammed Anas, who holds the National record in 400m. “My biggest ambition is to compete at the Olympics like him,” he said. “I was initially doing high jump before my coach at LNCPE (Thiruvananthapuram) N.V. Nishad Kumar asked me to try long jump.”
Nishad said Anas had the potential to do much better. “He has stagnated a bit for the last couple of years, but he has also had problems with injury,” the coach said. “The target I have set for him is well over 8 metre. Having said that, you have to do well past that mark if you want to achieve something in long jump, though it remains a magical number.”
Anees said his immediate aim was to improve his performances so that he could qualify for major international meets like the Asian championship. “I have been able to take part only in one international so far (the World universities in Chinese Taipei last year),” he said. “I feel the Indian jumpers should get more international exposure.”
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Nishad has another plan for Anees, though. “I feel he has great potential in 400m hurdles,” he said. “I don't know when exactly train him in it, but if everything goes right, I will do that some time in the future.”
Anees said he would give it a try since the coach had faith in him. “But for the time being, my focus is going to be on long jump,” he said.
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