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Athletics

History-maker Eldhose Paul promises better show at 2023 World Athletics Championships

Eldhose Paul was the first Indian triple jumper at the World Athletics Championships last year. He says he is much better positioned this year to improve upon his 9th-place finish.

History-maker Eldhose Paul promises better show at 2023 World Athletics Championships
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Eldhose Paul(Image via Olympics)

By

Aswathy Santhosh

Updated: 17 Aug 2023 11:46 AM GMT

Eldhose Paul, one of the breakout Athletics stars in the last two years, heads into the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, starting from Saturday, as one of the most anticipated stars to watch. India's first ever triple jumper in the history of this prestigious global meet, Eldhose wants to use the occasion this year to seal his qualification into the Paris Olympics.

Ever since coming to the limelight at the Commonwealth Games with a historic gold and making it to the World Athletics Championships in Oregon last year, expectations have increased from the triple jumper.

"Last year, I finished 9th and then I didn’t have enough experience or exposure. However, this year, I have gained a lot of exposure and experience from the last couple of competitions," Eldhose told JioCinema.

"The World Championships is like the Olympics and sometimes even tougher. Qualifying for the Worlds is truly tough due to the high qualification standards. We planned our workouts systematically and had a very good team to help us," he said.

"Six months were dedicated to preparing for the World Championships – this is the final stretch with peak pressure we’ll go through before the competition. The competition starts on the 19th, so the last two weeks are crucial in Hungary as we peak our bodies for the best performance," explained the jumper.

Eldhose Paul

Eldhose is looking to seal Olympics qualification through the World Championships route. His personal best remains 16.99m because the 17.03 jump at the CWG last year had a +3.1 wind speed. The qualification mark for the Olympics is 17.22m.

"In triple jump, the 17m mark is a standard barrier. If an athlete jumps more than 17m, it’s considered a world-standard jump." While acknowledging the challenge, he said he views the 17m mark as more of a mental hurdle.

The Neeraj Chopra influence

Eldhose Paul acknowledged the transformative impact of Neeraj Chopra's success on the mindset of Indian athletes.

"The major impact is on our mindset. Before Neeraj’s medal, athletes focused on participation and representing India. Now, we believe we can win medals in the Olympics and World Championships. His achievements inspire and motivate all young athletes, including myself. There’s a significant shift in our competition results, with Indians now in the top 10 rankings."

Eldhose Paul with Neeraj Chopra

The roots

Born on November 7, 1996, in the rustic locale of Kolenchery, situated 26 km from Ernakulam city in Kerala, Eldhose Paul's journey has been one of resilience and determination.

Eldhose shared his perspective on the camaraderie among athletes, particularly those from his home state, Kerala - like Abdulla Aboobacker, one of the new batch of triple jumpers who have exploded in recent years, or Tamil Nadu - like Praveen Chithravel and Selva T.

He emphasized that the bond among athletes transcends regional affiliations and is rooted in a shared goal of representing India with pride.

"The connection isn’t solely due to being from the same state but because of the friendship and bonding. Regardless of whether an athlete is from Tamil Nadu or anywhere else, we are Indians representing India as a team. Teamwork is crucial, and we work together without any issues relating to language, religion, or other barriers. In sports, teamwork, friendship and bonding are the driving forces behind success."

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