India’s Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Aboobacker won the gold and silver, respectively, in the men’s triple jump final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Sunday. It was Indian men’s first ever 1-2 in CWG athletics.
Paul became the first jumper to clear 17m in the CWG event when he jumped 17.03m (wind assistance +3.1) - personal best - in his third attempt. It was enough to earn him the top spot. Paul’s statemate Aboobacker won silver with a 17.02m jump (wind assistance +1.2) in his fifth attempt. Bermuda’s Jah-Nhai Perinchief won bronze with a jump of 16.92m.
After five rounds, it was an Indian 1-2, with Praveen Chithravel placed fourth. He was 0.03m off a bronze medal at this point. He eventually settled for the fourth position with his best jump of 16.89m.
Paul had reached the final of the World Championships in Eugene, where he finished with a jump of 16.79m. Just five Commonwealth triple jumpers qualified for the Worlds, and Paul was the only one to make the final.
With just four days to go for the World Athletics Championships in the USA, Paul was still running around in New Delhi to complete his visa formalities.
When Eldhose first got the date for his visa interview, he was at Almaty (Kazakhstan) competing in the Qosanov meet in a last-minute bid to qualify for the Worlds through the rankings route.
He was successful, grabbing the last berth (triple jump is a 32-man event) in World Athletics’ ‘Road to Oregon rankings’ just before the qualification doors closed.
Asian Games champion Arpinder Singh was the last triple jumper to win a Commonwealth Games medal (bronze, Glasgow 2014).