Bhubaneswar: Star long jumper Murali Sreeshankar produced a huge 8.41m effort in his very first attempt in the qualifying round at the National Inter-State Athletics Championships to qualify for the World Championships, here on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Sreeshankar’s jump was just 1cm shy of Jeswin Aldrin’s national record of 8.42m set earlier this year.
However, the effort was Sreeshankar’s personal best.
”The wind reading was fine, it was 1.5m/s. Just short of the national record but I am happy to have made this jump,” Sreeshankar, representing Kerala, said after the event.
Aldrin was second with a best jump of 7.83m while Muhammed Anees Yahiya was third with 7.71m, as 12 long jumpers made it to the final to be held on Monday.
The Asian Games qualifying mark for the men’s long jump is 7.95m.
On June 9, Sreeshankar became only the third Indian — after Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and former discus thrower Vikas Gowda — to win a Diamond League medal with a bronze in the Paris leg with an effort of 8.09m.
The men’s long jump qualifying distance for the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary in August is 8.25m.
In the women’s long jump qualification round, Ancy Sojan of Kerala breached the Asian Games mark of 6.45m with a best effort of 6.49m as she finished ahead of state-mate Nayana James (6.31m) and India number one Shaili Singh (6.27m) of Uttar Pradesh, who also made it to Monday’s final.
Asian record holder shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor topped the qualification round with a throw of 18.91m, nine centimeter short of the Asian Games qualifying mark of 19m.
In men’s javelin throw qualification, three athletes breached the Asian Games qualification mark of 78.23m. Kishore Kumar Jena of Odisha took the top spot in the qualification round with a best throw of 79.96m, followed by Shivpal Singh (79.35m) — who has served a one-year doping ban — of Uttar Pradesh and Anuj Kalera (79.04m) of Rajasthan.
National record holder Amlan Borgohain eased to the men’s 200m semifinal after topping the Round 1 heats while Srabani Nanda of Odisha and Shabnam of Delhi clocked identical 24.31 seconds in corresponding women’s race.
The men’s 1500m preliminary heats saw four runners breaching the Asian Games qualifying mark of 3:47.84, though only two athletes can represent a country in the continental multi-sporting spectacle.
Ajay Kumar Saroj (3:44.13) of Uttar Pradesh, Yoonus Shah (3:44.22), also of Uttar Pradesh, Sachelal Patel (3:44.33) of Uttarakhand and Rahul Baloda (3:46.73) of Rajasthan were the four runners.
National record holder Jinson Johnson of Kerala clocked 3:48.83 to make it to the final.