M. Sreeshankar upset some big names as he won the long jump bronze at the Diamond League on a cloudy night at the Charlety Stadium in Paris on Friday. The Commonwealth Games silver medallist came up with an 8.09m in the third round for his biggest medal this year.
That made Sreeshankar only the third Indian, after discus thrower Vikas Gowda and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, and the first Indian long jumper to win a medal in the Diamond League, the world’s top athletics series which was started by the world body IAAF (now renamed as World Athletics) in 2010.
Sreeshankar, the Commonwealth Games silver medallist who has a personal best of 8.36m (2022), started with 7.79 and moved to the second spot with 8.09m – his best jump in the event – in the third round. The 24-year-old fouled his fourth and sixth jumps and did a 7.99 in his fifth.
Just four centimetres separated Sreeshankar, coached by his father S. Murali, and the winner. The sparkling bronze should help the youngster from Palakkad climb a few rungs in the ‘Road to Budapest’ rankings for this August’s World Championships there. He is currently on the 20th spot in the list and the top 36 make the cut and the deadline is July 30. The automatic qualification standard is 8.25m.
Greece’s Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou (personal best 8.60m, 2021) took the gold in Paris with 8.13m while Switzerland’s Simon Ehammer (pb 8.45, 2022), last year’s World’s bronze medallist, was second with 8.11.
“We did not have the best conditions, we had negative wind, unfortunately,” said Tentoglou, the World No. 1, after the event. Finishing behind Sreeshankar were Cuba’s Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist, Maykel Masso, the World No. 2, with 7.83 and Sweden’s World No. 4 Thobias Montler, the 2021 Diamond League champion and last year’s Indoor Worlds silver medallist, who was seventh with 7.82.
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