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Asian Games

Tejaswin Shankar earns right to call himself advocate of decathlon

Tejaswin Shankar broke the decathlon national record to win silver medal in the event after 49 years at the Asian Games 2023.

tejaswin shankar decathlon
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Indian high jumper Tejaswin Shankar (Source: PTI)

By

Pritish Raj

Updated: 11 Oct 2023 5:24 AM GMT

Tejaswin Shankar broke the national record to win a historic silver medal in the men's decathlon event at the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, China on Tuesday.

Tejaswin scored a total of 7666 points across two days of ten events to win a medal in the decathlon for India after 49 years. The last medal in the decathlon came when Vijay Singh Chauhan and Suresh Babu won gold and bronze respectively at the 1974 Asian Games.

Tejaswin clocked 4:47.55 in the last event of 1500m to add 634 points to his total and clinch his silver medal ahead of Yamu Maruyama of Japan. Sun Qihao of China won the gold medal with 7816 points.

Tejaswin recorded personal best in three events pushing him towards the silver medal. He threw 39.28 in the discus throw, 13.39 in the shot put, and jumped 4.10m in the pole vault to achieve his personal bests.

"I am very happy with my score. The goal was to break the national record which I was able to. I was expecting a bit more but I was cramping, so it is okay," Tejaswin told the media after the historic medal.

"It is good that I haven't done much decathlon, or else you will ask about breaking 8000 points like Neeraj is asked about 90m," Tejaswin laughed.

In the ten events of Decathlon, on the first day Tejaswin earned 834 points in 100m with a timing of 11.12 seconds, 903 points in long jump with a distance of 7.37m, 591 points in shot put with a throw of 13.39m, 1002 points in high jump and 830 points in the 400m with 49.67s and ended the day at the top with a lead of 4260 points.

On the second day, Tejaswin earned 876 points in 110m hurdles with a timing of 14.78 seconds, 650 points in discus throw with a new personal best of 39.98m, 645 points in pole vault with a personal best of 4.10m, 606 points in Javelin with a throw of 51.77m and 629 points in 1500m with a timing of 4:47.55.

He broke the 11-year-old national record of Bhartinder Singh of 7658 points.

When asked about how does feels about bringing decathlon to mainstream, Tejaswin said," With national record to my name, I can say I am the advocate of the sport. It is good that you get to be on the TV for two days."

Competing in his second international event as a decathlete, Tejaswin made a brilliant debut at the Asian Athletics Championships securing a bronze medal with 7527 points.

Decathlon- The toughest of the athletics

For Tejaswin, apart from winning the medal, promoting the sport of Decathlon is also important.

“I am happy that an event like the decathlon is getting the attention that it deserves because it's definitely one of the hardest events in track and field. We have good decathlon athletes in India who have not been able to get the recognition they deserve. It's not an underrepresented sport but has not received its fair share of limelight. I am really happy that through me, hopefully, we can highlight the event,” Tejaswin had said before leaving for the Asian Games.

Tejaswin started as a high jumper and currently holds the national record of both decathlon and high jump. Talking about the mental fortitude required for the decathlon, Tejaswin said," It is all mental health only cause Decathlon has moments when nothing is in your control like weather or your body. So, it is important to keep the belief up and give your best."

With a national record and an Asian Games medal in Decathlon, Tejaswin wants to return back to the high jump for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics.

"I will focus on the high jump till the 2024 Paris Olympics. I started with the high jump and I would like to be called an Olympian in the event. After Paris, I will be back to become a full-time decathlete," Tejaswin signed off.

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