Shankar’s victory comes at a price

After winning his maiden NCAA title, national record holder injures neck further, closes season.

Tejaswin has decided to bring the curtains down on his season.   -  PTI

A lot of things must have been running in Tejaswin Shankar’s mind as he took off for each of his high jumps at the American NCAA track and field championships in Eugene, US, on Friday evening.

His neck, which has been giving him problems while landing after big jumps and forced him to skip the coming Asian Games, must have been on top of that list.

Still, the 19-year-old Indian senior record holder from Delhi, went on to win his maiden NCAA title with a 2.24m effort. That made Shankar the third Indian, after triple jumper Mohinder Singh Gill (a multiple champion starting from 1969) and discus thrower Vikas Gowda (2012), to win the NCAA title.

But the victory came at a price. “After jumping, I have injured my neck further so my target now will only be to get it fixed and do rehab,” Shankar told Sportstar on Saturday.

He has also decided to bring the curtains down on his season. “This was officially the last meet of the year for me,” he said. Since he has been landing on his neck, leading to big problems in the neck area, he will have to undergo major changes in his technique to work out a much safer ‘back’ landing. “That pretty much is the plan for the off-season,” said Shankar.

At Eugene, Shankar – who is doing business administration at the Kansas State University – had to stave off a strong challenge from three others - who were all attempting 2.24m - to become the only one to clear that height, going over on his last try.

He went for 2.30m next, in an effort to break his own national record of 2.29m, but failed in all his three attempts.

“It was raining heavily here but I feel I was able to keep my nerves to myself and that paid off well,” he said.

The next few months will be very crucial for the wonder jumper.

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