After overcoming many hurdles, Sreeshankar and Jeswin on a dream boat in Budapest

Sreeshankar and Aldrin will be keen to overcome another hurdle to put themselves on the podium at the World Athletics Championships.

Published : Aug 18, 2023 21:05 IST , KOCHI - 3 MINS READ

File image of Jeswin Aldrin (L) and Murali Sreeshankar.
File image of Jeswin Aldrin (L) and Murali Sreeshankar. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

File image of Jeswin Aldrin (L) and Murali Sreeshankar. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Just a few days before last year’s World Athletics Championships in Oregon, Jeswin Aldrin was not even sure of flying to the US.

Despite the young long jumper achieving the qualification standard, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) forced him to do two trials as his form dipped and cleared him just five days before the event which saw Aldrin make a crazy rush to the US.

Another long jumper, M. Sreeshankar, went through a similar agonising phase in 2021 before getting a last-minute green signal for the Tokyo Olympics. The clearance also had a rider that action would be taken against Sreeshankar’s coach S. Murali if the youngster did not perform well in Tokyo.

But sport has its own strange way to counter such things.

READ | World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023: Schedule of Indian athletes, full squad, streaming info

As the two youngsters get ready for the World Championships, which begin in Budapest on Saturday, they are virtually on a dream boat. Aldrin (8.42m), from Mudalur village in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu, is the World No. 1 long jumper this year while Sreeshankar (8.41m), from Palakkad in Kerala, is the No. 2.


And 20 years after Anju Bobby George’s bronze at the Paris Worlds, Sreeshankar looks capable of bringing another Worlds long jump medal in Budapest.

If it was a husband-wife combo then (Anju was coached by her husband Robert Bobby George), it is a father-son combination (Sreeshankar’s coach is his dad S. Murali) that promises to bring the precious medal.

Sreeshankar is a confident jumper now, at home with some of the world’s best. He was seventh at the Oregon Worlds, won the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games silver (the first male Indian long jumper to do so) and the 2023 Bangkok Asian Championship silver and a Diamond League bronze in Paris in June.

He has also qualified for next year’s Paris Olympics, making the cut as soon as the qualification doors opened in July.

Despite being below Aldrin in this year’s world list, Sreeshankar is more experienced and if he hits the right chord and if the conditions are good, he is capable of coming close to 8.50m which should bring a medal in Budapest.

Greece’s Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou, the Tokyo Olympic champion and a consistent performer this year, and Switzerland’s Simon Ehammer are some of the jumpers Sreeshankar will be watching out for at the Worlds.


The famed American magazine  Track and Field News has projected Tentoglou as the favourite for the gold, and China’s defending World champion Jianan Wang and Simon Ehammer for silver and bronze in its top-10 list for the Budapest Worlds. It has given the seventh spot to Sreeshankar and the ninth rung to Taipei’s Asian champion Yu-Tang Lin. Aldrin, who had a shaky season with COVID doing a lot of damage to his fitness and form, does not figure in the list.

But sport never ceases to surprise.

None expected Chopra to win the Olympic gold in Tokyo or long jumper Wang, who did just one outdoor meet last year where he did 7.67m before heading to Oregon where he stunningly took the Worlds gold with a last-round 8.36m.

For sure, Sreeshankar and Jeswin will be dreaming of Chopra and Wang’s feats on Tuesday night before Wednesday morning’s qualification round.

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