Tejaswin Shankar, the Indian national record holder in the men's high jump, signed off on his collegiate career in some style claiming the 2022 NCAA Men's High Jump title on Friday with a season's best jump of 2.27m at Hayward Field. Shankar's jump of 2.27m also matched the qualifying standard set by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for the Commonwealth Games (CWG).
The title came after a jump off between Shankar and eventual silver medallist Darius Carbin. Both Shankar and Carbin fouled three times at the height of 2.27m and had the same number of misses, forcing a jump off between the two at the same height. Tejaswin cleared the bar while Carbin knocked the bar down, resulting in Shankar being crowned the champion.
The title, in Shankar's final competition for Kanas State, was also his second NCAA title for the university. It was also only his fourth competition in the high jump this year. He had earlier competed in the decathlon last month and narrowly missed out on the Indian national record in that event. He had previously won the outdoor title in 2018 in his first year at the university. As such Shankar becomes only the second Indian sportsperson -- after tennis player Somdev Devvarman --and the first Indian athlete to win two NCAA titles.
"It feels great to be a national champion," Shankar told kstatesports.com . "I wanted to give my best and go out with a title. For that to happen is just a blessing. This one I will cherish the most. This meet was my last meet and I wanted to go out there and make it memorable for myself, make it memorable for the university. In the last five years, the university has done so much for me. I would like to dedicate this to the athletics department and the Little Apple. K-State is High Jump U."
While Shankar might have competed in his final NCAA Championships, he might be seen once again at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. However, although he matched the CWG qualification standard of 2.27m set by the AFI, Shankar's not guaranteed a place in the Indian team that will travel to Birmingham. "The qualification standard are guidelines, the final call will be taken by the selection committee," says Adille Sumariwala, the president of the AFI.
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