Sreeshankar is back, focused and stronger

Felt like an old man, walking slowly in hospital those days, says World’s No. 1 junior.

File photo of M. Sreeshankar in action during the boys' long jump event in the National Youth Athletics Championship in Kozhikode in 2016.   -  K. Ragesh

A little over a month ago, just when he thought that all his painful days were behind him, long jumper M. Sreeshankar was forced to suffer another phase of agony and misery.

The junior World No. 1 was returning to the track soon after the stitches were removed following a painful appendicitis surgery but days later, he had to be rushed to the hospital again.

“Just when I felt I was coming back to normal shape after the surgery, I was again admitted to the hospital twice with severe stomach pain. My body was paining everywhere, I had problems even while breathing,” said the 19-year-old in a chat with Sportstar from Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday evening.

WORST PHASE OF MY LIFE

“I felt like an old man, walking slowly in the hospital with a tube connected to my stomach to remove the pus. My stomach was full of pus, so I was given heavy antibiotics too.
“I’m just picking up after the worst phase of my life. Now, I am getting better day by day but taking it one step at a time.”

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Sreeshankar has emerged stronger from the experience. Even the disappointment of missing the recent Commonwealth Games, does not hurt him much.

NOT TARGETING A MEDAL

All that matters now are the crucial meets coming up. He will be going to Japan in a couple of days for the Asian junior championship but despite being the world’s top under-20 jumper this year, with his 7.99m at the Patiala Federation Cup in March, he is not targeting any medal.

“I’m not worried about the position, I just want to be in the 7.60 to 7.70m range so that I can go 7.80m at the inter-State meet in Guwahati (Asian Games qualification meet, June 26-29),” he said.

“I should be in perfect form by the time of the Asian Games (in Jakarta in August) and hope to be in the 8.10m range by then,” said Sreeshankar, son of former triple jump international S. Murali and two-lapper K. S. Bijimol.

It was Murali who moulded Sreeshankar into one of the world’s best juniors at his base in Palakkad. And like javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and high jumper Tejaswin Shankar, Sreeshankar is clearly one for the future with potential to do well at the Olympics and Worlds.

Sreeshankar has now joined the national camp in Thiruvananthapuram and Bedros Bedrosian, the national long and triple jumps coach, feels the youngster is capable of producing some big ones next year.

“Sreeshankar is mentally very strong and focused. By next year, he should be doing something like 8.20m,” said the Romanian.