A different strategy needed to handle the new take-off board system, says the long jump silver medallist

A different strategy needed to handle the new take-off board system, says the long jump silver medallist

After a series of misses at the last few majors, long jumper M. Sreeshankar feels the Commonwealth Games silver will offer him a fresh start in his journey.

“This medal means a lot to me. I’ve been missing out on medals at the majors every single time. So, this is another step towards my big goal,” said the 23-year-old, the country’s first male long jumper to win a Commonwealth Games silver, from Birmingham on Friday.

Optimistic

“Now, I have to work harder and smarter. And, hopefully, by Paris I’ll be in the best shape of my life to bring a (Olympic) medal for my country.”

By this season’s standards, Sreeshankar’s first three jumps were mediocre. And when he fouled his fourth, he must have been under pressure.

“To be honest, there was some pressure but I was not taking that into my head because I’ve been in this situation before. I knew I’d be able to get the big jump at the right time. In long jump, what matters is one solid jump,” said the national record holder (8.36m) who got his silver jump (8.08m) in his fifth attempt.

“In these situations, it is very important to stay calm, my father (former international S. Murali who is also his coach) also told me that.”

There were moments after the Tokyo Olympics disappointment (he failed to qualify for the final) when Sreeshankar had even thought of quitting the sport.

“After Tokyo, a lot of sacrifices were made. Because of muscle imbalance issues, I had to literally start from zero, rebuilding strength, technique and everything. But because of that, I was able to give importance to every little thing. That’s why I’ve been able to produce 8m jumps throughout this season,” he said.

Not ideal

He said the cold and windy conditions in the final were not ideal and that’s why there were no big jumps.

Sreeshankar felt that one needed to try out a new strategy to handle the new take-off board system, with laser technology, which appeared to be a bit harsh.

“Instead of the perfect take-off, you can go some 4 to 5 cms behind the board just to make sure you get the jump right. That will be very crucial. A lot of athletes have missed out on medals because of this new system,” said Sreeshankar who will compete in the Monaco Diamond League next week and in Lausanne this month end.



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