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Asian Games

Ancy Sojan wants to break 7-metre barrier at Paris Olympics

Ancy Sojan secured a silver medal at the Asian Games in the women's long jump event with a new PB of 6.63m. But for her, it is just the beginning as she targets the elusive 7-metre mark.

Ancy Sojan wants to break 7-metre barrier at Paris Olympics

Ancy Sojan celebrates after winning the women's long jump silver at the Asian Games in Hangzhou on Monday.


Aswathy Santhosh

Updated: 2 Oct 2023 7:11 PM GMT

Ancy Sojan Edappilly proudly secured a silver medal for India in the women's long jump event at the 19th Asian Games. While many had their sights on Shaili Singh, another young jumper in contention for a medal, it was Ancy who emerged as the standout performer of the day.

Despite her remarkable achievement and personal best mark, Ancy remained grounded and critical of her performance, "I was expecting to medal for sure, but I couldn't give my best since it was my first Asian Games appearance. I have learned a lot from this experience, and I am determined to work tirelessly to win that Asian Games gold medal in the future."

Ancy, who hails from Thrissur, Kerala, admitted that the wind conditions were not favourable. Yet, she set a new personal best with a 6.63 metres leap, "Today's conditions were not favourable, with the wind blowing in the opposite direction. Although I faced some initial challenges, I managed to rectify them during the second jump. I came close to my personal best in the third jump and finally achieved it in the fifth jump."

Mental preparation is another key element of Ancy's success, particularly when competing away from home. She credited her mental strength to her psychologist, Stalin Rafae, who hails from her native place.

Ancy, a fan of cricketer M.S. Dhoni, has a clear philosophy: "I was mentally prepared, the crowd was good too. I don't focus too much on the results, as Dhoni once said, 'What you do in training, you have to do it on the field.'"

Ultimate goal: 7-metre leap

While Ancy may have secured a silver medal at the Asian Games, her aspirations remain sky-high. She boldly states, "My ultimate goal is to surpass the 7-meter mark at the Paris Olympics." To put this into perspective, only a select few legendary athletes have ever achieved this remarkable feat. India's celebrated long jump champion, Anju Bobby George, has not cleared the 7-metre mark, with her best jump being 6.83m, also a national record since 2004.

Shaili Singh, the Asian Athletics Championships silver medallist, had been a top contender for the gold medal at the Asian Games, with a PB of 6.76m. However, she disappointingly finished fifth with a best effort of 6.48m.

Shaili's disappointment was palpable even before her fifth attempt. Ancy, three years older than Shaili at 22, says that she offered her words of encouragement to the fellow Indian athlete, "I motivated Shaili; she was disheartened by her finishes, but I asked her to stay calm and reminded her that today was our day. She's young and has a bright future ahead. She will bounce back stronger."

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