Sreeshankar: My fifth jump in Athens looked like 8.40m-plus

National record holder M. Sreeshankar plans to take it easy in his next event in Chania.

M. Sreeshankar

M. Sreeshankar with long jump legend Robert Emmiyan at Kallithea in Athens after winning the gold at the World Athletics Continental Tour event on Wednesday.   -  Special Arrangement

M. Sreeshankar had his hands on his head after his fifth jump at the International Jumping Meet in Kallithea, Athens, on Wednesday. The long jumper had overstepped the take-off board a bit and shook his head as he looked at the landing pit.

“The last two jumps were superb ones, the fifth looked like 8.40 plus,” Sreeshankar told The Hindu from Greece.

Still, he was happy that he had done very well to take the gold with 8.31m beating Indoor Worlds silver medallist Thobias Montler.

“I was struggling to find the rhythm. The first two jumps and the fourth, I was extending towards the board and couldn’t do them perfectly,” said the national record holder who is coached by his dad S. Murali.

And while his third effort brought gold, the last two offered a hint of bigger things to come.

“I didn’t do full approach jumps before coming here because of the rain. We expected 8.20 to 8.30, it’s a good performance,” said the 23-year-old.

READ | Sreeshankar wins Gold at International Jumps in Greece

“I’ll maintain this consistency because these jumps were pretty easy and the last two were really good.”

Sreeshankar will be in action again in the seaside city of Chania, one of the most beautiful cities of Greece, in another World Athletics Continental Tour event on Sunday but he is not planning to go all out.

“The French guys will be there. Won’t be ‘stressing’ too much for the event...will be taking it easy,” he said.

Former Soviet Union’s Robert Emmiyan, fourth in the all-time list (8.86m in Armenia, 1987), is now coaching the Frenchmen and Sreeshankar made sure he had a photo with the legend.

“This one is special,” he said.

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Another great, Tokyo Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou, with whom Sreeshankar shares this year’s outdoor world lead with his national record 8.36m at the recent Federation Cup, went out of his way to help the Indian.

“He has been guiding us. We are training at a facility (indoors) near the Olympic stadium where Tentoglou trains. Because of him and his coach we got permission to use the facility for free.”

Sreeshankar was looking forward to jumping against Tentoglou on Wednesday but the Greek pulled out at the last minute.

“Tentoglou had a bad landing in a May 21 meet at Kalamata. He will be jumping in Ostrava (May 31).”

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