Sreeshankar is the ‘bar’ Jeswin targets and looks up to

The young long jumper has already qualified for this year’s Budapest Worlds.

Published : Feb 17, 2023 21:27 IST , Kochi

Jeswin Aldrin after winning the silver medal at the Indoor Asians in Kazakhstan.
Jeswin Aldrin after winning the silver medal at the Indoor Asians in Kazakhstan. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Jeswin Aldrin after winning the silver medal at the Indoor Asians in Kazakhstan. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A lot had happened to long jumper Jeswin Aldrin last year. Despite a sensational 8.26m effort and a wind-assisted 8.37 that helped him qualify for the World Championships and brought him the Federation Cup gold, jolting national record-holder M. Sreeshankar, the youngster was asked to do two trials as his form dipped a couple of months later.

He was left out from the original team for last year’s Oregon Worlds but was cleared at the last minute and had to make a mad rush to the USA. However, he was omitted from the team for the Commonwealth Games that came shortly after..

In many ways, 2022 was Aldrin’s best year but also one that shattered him. The youngster may not have forgotten those bitter days but he has found his calm.

Has the hurt healed?

“Yes. It’s just that I was not performing consistently, that was the problem. I want to perform consistently this year so that it won’t happen again,” said Aldrin, in a chat with Sportstar from Ballari’s JSW Inspire Institute of Sport, on Friday.

Aldrin, who has already qualified for this year’s Budapest Worlds with his gold-winning 8.26m at the National Games last October, opened his season with a silver and a decent 7.97m at the recent Indoor Asians in Kazakhstan.

“I’m not completely happy but I’m satisfied with the silver. We tend to make many mistakes in the first competition. The landing has been bad for me, also the second cycle. In the Indoor Asians, my ‘second cycling’ was very bad so I’m focusing on not repeating the same mistakes in the next competition,” said the 21-year-old who is coached by Cuban two-time Worlds triple jump silver medallist Yoandri Betanzos.

He also explained that his rhythm on the approach run was a little ‘off’ and that could have been the reason for the many fouls (four) in Kazakhstan.

The battle between 23-year-old Sreeshankar and Aldrin, the top two in India’s all-time list, had been one of the highlights of Indian athletics last year and could be the one to follow this year too as the national season opens early next month.

Aldrin considers Sreeshankar a blessing and the ‘bar’ to target and look up to.

“Sreeshankar jumping better than me is good. I now have a target within the system to look up to,” said Aldrin who hails from Mudalur in Thoothukudi.

“He pushes me to do better, if he wasn’t there I would have been overconfident thinking that I am the best.”

After closing last season with 8.26m, Aldrin feels that 8.30m is within his range this year with the Asian and World Championships and the Asian Games lined up.

“I think it’s possible if I’m consistent at 8.10 or 8.20. I’m planning to do that this year,” said the youngster who is doing his BA (Public Administration) final year at the Madras Christian College in Chennai.

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