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Athletics

My next aim is to reach World Championships final: Triple Jumper Abdulla Aboobacker after breaching 17m

Airforce triple jumper Abdulla Aboobacker talks to The Bridge after breaching the 17m mark and qualifying for 2022 World Athletics Championships.

Abdulla Aboobacker Triple Jump
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Abdulla Aboobacker (Source: abdullaaboobacker04/Instagram)

By

Abhijit Nair

Updated: 2022-05-25T16:34:01+05:30

For the close followers of Indian athletics, Abdulla Ibnu Aboobacker has been an exciting prospect over the past few seasons. The now 26-year-old has been putting up some very consistent jumps for the past few years.

Having gone past the 16m mark for the first time in 2018 with a best leap of 16.28m, Aboobacker has been on a constant upward curve. He improved his Personal Best to 16.67m a year later in 2019, before reaching 16.84 in 2021 and becoming only the third Indian to breach the 17m mark with a massive jump of 17.19m at the recently concluded Indian Grand Prix (IGP) 3 in Bhubaneswar.

Aboobacker started off in a modest fashion at the Kalinga Stadium with a jump of mere 16m before fouling in his next three attempts.

"I did not put in a lot of effort in my first attempt. I just wanted to get a feel of things and it was more of a warm-up attempt. The next three jumps, I felt were very good. I am sure I reached close to 17m then but was fouled every time," Aboobacker tells The Bridge.

With the pressure mounting and his statemate Eldhose Paul looking in prime position to take home the gold from IGP 3, Aboobacker upped his game.

Not only did he come up with his career's personal best jump, but he also became only the third Indian to breach the 17m mark in triple jump after Renjith Maheshwary and Arpinder Singh.

"There was a lot of pressure. I was unable to think clearly after those three foul attempts. But, thankfully my coach Harikrishnan was there to encourage and motivate me. He kept telling me that I have two more attempts and even if I foul again, it would not matter. That gave me the confidence and the result was there to see," says Aboobacker about his 17.19m jump.

Abdulla Aboobacker (Source: Athletics Federation of India)

Focus on World Championships

Not only did that 17.19m jump win him the gold and the best athlete at IGP 3 award with an attempt to spare, but it also earned him the ticket to the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

"It is quite exciting to breach the qualification standard for the World Championships and to think that it will be my first international competition gives me goose bumps. The focus right now is pretty clear – reach the final in Oregon and better my 17.19m attempt there," states Aboobacker while ruing the age group international competitions he missed.

Choosing Triple Jump and the journey ahead

Having started off with track events like 100m, 200m sprints, and hurdles, Abdulla Aboobacker switched to Triple Jump only because there were no takers for the event.

"I used to run 100m, 200m, and hurdles but the competition was a lot. I realised early on that it will be difficult to stand out in these events. I just tried my hand in triple jump because there were no takers and soon it became my pet event," he chuckles.

Having practised triple jump since he was in 10th grade, Aboobacker credits his rise in the sport to his decision of joining the Indian Air Force.

"I did triple jump all through my school and college. But, the major turning point came when I joined the Indian Airforce in 2014. That's where Harikrishnan sir took me under his wings. I owe a lot of my success to him. The fact that he is now with the Indian camp as an assistant coach gives me a sense of comfort while going about my business," he says.

With Harikrishnan as assistant coach and 2000 Olympic bronze medallist Dennis Kapustin as the chief coach of horizontal jumps, Abdulla Aboobacker feels he is in the right hands to improve.

"Kapustin has been of good help in refining my technique. Though I haven't worked a lot with him, he has had an impact. With Harikrishan and Kapustin to guide me, I feel my best is yet to come."

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