National record holder long jumper Jeswin Aldrin qualified for his maiden World Athletics Championships finals but fellow competitor Murali Sreeshankar made a shock exit at the qualification round after a below-par show here on Wednesday.
Aldrin, who entered the showpiece as season leader with his 8.42m national record effort in March, cleared 8.0m in his first attempt and fouled his next two jumps. But that was sufficient for him to make it to the 12-man final to be held on Thursday.
Those who cleared automatic qualification distance of 8.15m or top 12 from the two qualification groups made it to the finals.
Aldrin, who finished sixth in Group B qualification round, was the 12th best performer overall and made it to the finals as the last qualifier.
Sreeshankar had a disappointing series of 7.74m, 7.66m and 6.70m as he finished 12th in Group A qualification round and 22nd overall.
His exit in the qualification round was another shocker for the Indian camp reeling under 3000m steeplechaser Avinash Sable’s disappointing failure to make it to the finals. He was expected to at least reach the finals.
Sreeshankar has been more consistent than Aldrin this season, having crossed the 8m mark on many occasions. He achieved his personal best of 8.41m in Bhubaneswar in June and was entering the World Championships on the back of his silver-winning jump of 8.37m in the Asian Championships in July.
But on Wednesday, form deserted Sreeshankar -- the Paris Diamond League third place finisher -- when it mattered the most. He had finished seventh in the 2022 World Championships in USA. This was his third appearance in the showpiece.
For Aldrin, this was his second appearance in the World Championships. He had crashed out at the qualification round in the 2022 edition in USA.
In a rare feat, two Indians -- Aldrin and Sreeshankar -- had entered the World Championships as first and second ranked long jumpers in the season leaders’ list.
Aldrin has been struggling to touch the 8m mark after his big jump early in the season. He had also faced fitness issues, which led to him missing the Asian Championships in July.
His most recent outing was at the CITIUS Meeting in Bern, Switzerland which he won with 8.22m.
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