With the Asian Games in Hangzhou some four months away, the Chinese are closely watching the Indian long jumpers and their stunning performances.
National record-holder Jeswin Aldrin, with his 8.42m at the Indian Jumps Open in Ballari in March, is currently the long jump world leader while M. Sreeshankar finished No. 3 in the world list last year with his 8.36m.
There were many Chinese at the MVA High Performance Meet in Chula Vista on Sunday where Sreeshankar won the gold comfortably.
“The Chinese have recorded almost all my jumps. The videos were taken by the science head of their jumps group,” Sreeshankar, the Commonwealth Games silver medallist, told Sportstar from the US on Monday.
WORLD CHAMPION LYING LOW AGAIN
China’s Jianan Wang is the current World champion and also the defending Asian Games champion, having won the gold in Jakarta 2018. In fact, the Chinese have won the long jump gold at the last two editions of the Asiad.
But Wang, who did just one outdoor competition last year where he produced a mediocre 7.67m before stunningly grabbing the World title with 8.36m in Oregon 2022, has once again been quiet the last few months. He is yet to open his outdoor season but has done an 8.09m indoors in March back home.
Some 15 Chinese athletes competed in Chula Vista on Sunday and Weidong Ma and Huang Huafeng took silver and bronze behind Sreeshankar.
“I spoke to the Chinese science team head. The Chinese, around 40 of them, have been in the US since November,” said Sreeshankar.
“And after the Chinese trials for the Worlds and Asiad in June, they will go to Europe. The Asian Games are on and they are all set with their preparations.”
With Aldrin breaking Sreeshankar’s national record (8.36m), the Kerala long jumper feels that it will do a world of good for the sport.
SIX MORE CENTIMETRES
“Six more centimetres. He has raised the bar to a new level, it is my turn to face that now, we will be going back and forth. It is a very good thing for jumps, it will automatically improve all the others too,” said Sreeshankar, who is coached by his dad S. Murali.
Sreeshankar probably had the record on his mind at Chula Vista when he opened his series with a wind-assisted 8.29m.
“Should have been a very good day, especially after the first jump. But the conditions were very cold, it was 15 degrees. And it was windy too, so I couldn’t adjust to the conditions properly. My body felt frozen,” said Sreeshankar.
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