Kerala long jumper M Sreeshankar broke his own national record mark but more importantly, crossed the automatic qualification mark needed to earn a spot at Tokyo Olympic Games at the 24th National Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships 2021 in Patiala.
In the race to Tokyo for men’s long jump, a mark of 8.22m or more is enough to earn a spot in the field of 32. Sreeshankar not only achieved that, but he also bettered his previous best and his own national record effort of 8.20m with a jump of 8.26m at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports complex.
The 21-year-old Kerala athlete’s 8.26m jump came in his fifth attempt as he improved his earlier national record of 8.20m which he had registered in 2018. He began with a 8.02m jump before improving to 8.04m, 8.07m and 8.09m in his next three jumps before touching 8.26m in his fifth attempt. He had a no mark in his final jump.
Getting off the pit when he completed the fifth attempt, he immediately sensed that he had attained his goal, holding his arms aloft as he watched the officials measure the distance. The joy was doubled when he got the confirmation on the electronic board.
“I am thankful to everyone who supported me to achieve this result. I wanted to prove a point as everyone thought 8.20 was my peak and after that my performance was not the same. I am really very happy,” said Sreeshankar.
Another Kerala jumper Muhammed Anees Yahiya (8m) and S Lokesh (7.60m) of Karnataka took the silver and bronze respectively.