Renjith: Was confident of winning

Incidentally, it was the first time since 2010 that the 30-year-old was breaching the 17-metre mark.

India's Renjith Maheswary won the men's triple jump gold medal during the Indian Grand Prix 2016 in Bengaluru.   -  K. Murali Kumar

For triple jumper Renjith Maheswary, after two underwhelming performances at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, Rio 2016 perhaps presented the last chance to go out on a high. On Monday, at the fourth Indian Grand Prix he did himself a world of good in that quest of his, shattering the National record and qualifying in an emphatic fashion.

“I was confident,” said Renjith after his victory. “I started the season late and there were small mistakes that i was committing. I had a lower abdomen injury and recovered only two weeks before the inter-State meet in Hyderabad. But three back-to-back events in Hyderabad, Thailand and here helped me rectify some of the technical issues. This helped me jump close to my season best.”

Incidentally, it was the first time since 2010 that the 30-year-old was breaching the 17-metre mark. The speedy track, weather, all helped, he said. And at Rio he promised to do better. “I'll repeat. My target is to at least get 17.31m.”

For Jinson Johnson, his timing in the 800m marked continuous progress – from a season best of 1:47.80s in 2014, to 1:47:56s in 2015, to 1:45.98s now. Coming as it does on the last day of the qualification for Rio, it will certainly taste sweeter than all.

When asked if Sriram Singh’s forty-year-old National record was within reach, he replied in the affirmative. “The conditions and facilities are better now. So it’s not beyond reach.”

Dharambir Singh, the third individual qualifier of the day, said that competition from the Maldivian athlete Hassan Saaid, spurred him on. “He was very good. That’s what pushed me. That kind of competition was missing earlier.”