Sreeshankar to skip Diamond League Final to focus on Asian Games

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Sreeshankar in action during the World Athletics Championships in Budapest recently.

Sreeshankar in action during the World Athletics Championships in Budapest recently.
| Photo Credit: AP

After the recent World Championships in Budapest which did not go according to plan, long jumper M. Sreeshankar has decided to skip next week’s Diamond League Final in Eugene and focus on the Asian Games to be held at Hangzhou, China, from September 23.

The top six in field events qualify for the Diamond League Final at the end of athletics’ premier one-day series and Sreeshankar, who finished third in his event, has made the cut for Eugene, the first Indian long jumper to do so. But he has now decided not to travel to the US.

“I have my event on September 29th (qualification round) and October 1 (final) at the Asian Games. If I go to the US travelling some 15 hours, compete for a day and then fly back to India and then travel again to China for the Asiad, that will be too much for my body,” said Sreeshankar, in a chat with The Hindu on Wednesday.

“Also the time difference…so I decided not to do the Diamond League Final. There is a 12-day gap between the Diamond Final and the Asian Games. That will be too hectic and the Asiad long jump competition will also be a strong one too.

“And with all the travelling, our training will not happen properly. And my body will not recover from the jet lag,” said the 24-year-old Asian silver medallist.

Olympic and World champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and 3000m steeplechaser Avinash Sable are the other two who have qualified for the Diamond Final which will be held on September 16 and 17.

Sreeshankar (personal best 8.41m) failed to enter the final at the World Championships after a disappointing 7.74m in the qualification round.

“Preparation-wise, my warm-up, everything was perfect. And when I took the trial jump, it was a very good jump. So I thought it would be a good day and qualification would be easy,” said Sreeshankar, the Commonwealth Games silver medallist.

“But my jumps came some 30 to 40 minutes after that. And when I took my approach for the jump, I felt my muscles tighten suddenly. I thought I’d take my first as a safe jump but I lost my rhythm completely and it was nearly 50cm from the take-off point. And in my last jump, I slipped from the take-off board and landed awkwardly.”

From Budapest he flew to Zurich for the Weltklasse meet and it was a much-needed trip.

“You’re in good form and something of this sort happens…that’s why I wanted to do the Zurich Diamond League, to shake off the feeling,” he said.

And the 7.99m and fifth place in Zurich offered him much relief. And a lot of confidence for the Asiad in China.



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