Eldhose Paul had two firsts in one go in Birmingham on Sunday. The triple jumper won the Commonwealth Games gold medal, the first by an Indian in the event's history, and he did it by crossing the 17-metre mark for the first time.
What's more, his close friend and fellow Keralite, Abdulla Aboobacker, won the silver at the Alexander Stadium.
Eldhose registered a jump of 17.03m in his third attempt. “It feels fantastic (to have registered the jump beyond 17m). Finally, I got my rhythm correct and got the perfect jump in an international competition,” the 25-year-old said while savouring the win.
Eldhose, who had a personal best of 16.99m set at the National Federation Cup in April, had a nervy start in the final. He stumbled and lost momentum in his first jump and the jump was measured at a mere 14.62m.
“I lost my balance in the first jump. But I trusted my abilities to get the contact right. And it worked out,” said Eldhose, who made the World Athletics Championships final in Oregon in July and became the first Indian male triple jumper to do so.
For a while at the Alexander Stadium, the prospect of an Indian sweep in the triple jump looked possible. Praveen Chithravel, the third Indian in the fray, was very much in the mix.
Aboobacker, who had a best effort of 17.02m, was happy for his friend Eldhose. “I would have happily shared the gold if we had both registered 17.03m. No questions asked about that,” he laughed.
Chithravel finished fourth, with a jump of 16.89m. Bermuda’s Jah-Nhai Perinchief took bronze with 16.92m.
Annu Rani bags bronze
In women's javelin throw, Annu Rani registered exactly 60m to finish with a bronze on August 7, a day which has now been declared ‘National Javelin Day’ by the Athletics Federation of India to celebrate Neeraj Chopra’s historic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
She is the first Indian woman javelin thrower to win a Commonwealth Games medal. Australia's Kelsey Lee-Barber (64.43m) and Mackenzie Little (personal best of 64.27m) took gold and silver in the event.
Chopra, who sustained an injury at the World Championships, had to pull out of the Commonwealth Games a few hours ahead of the opening ceremony. Annu said, “We keep talking. He messaged me wishing good luck. He is understandably missing the atmosphere.”
Podium finish for Sandeep
In the men’s 10,000 m race-walk, Sandeep Kumar recorded a personal best of 38:49.21 to win the bronze medal. Canada’s Evan Dunfee (38:36.37) won gold, while Australia’s Declan Tingay finished second (38:42.33).
Sandeep, who led the pack in the first 1,000m, dropped to third by the 3,000m. Although he came back to lead the field again over the next 2,000 metres, he was overtaken.
In the women’s 4x100m relay final, the Indian women’s team, comprising Hima Das, Dutee Chand, Jyothi Yarraji and Srabani Nanda, finished fifth. Nigeria won gold, England bagged silver, and Jamaica got the bronze.