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Long jumper Sreeshankar Murali qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Indian long jumper Sreeshankar Murali qualified for the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday after he made national record at 24th Senior Federation Cup

Sreeshankar Murali (Source: Twitter/SAI Media)

Sreeshankar Murali (Source: Twitter/SAI Media)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 17 March 2021 5:31 AM GMT

Indian long jumper Sreeshankar Murali qualified for the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. Taking part in the 24th Senior Federation Cup, Sreeshankar jumped 8.26m to create a national record and earned himself a berth at the mega event in Japan. The qualifying mark for the Games is 8.22m.

His previous record stood at 8.20m. The 21-year-old Palakkad-born athlete has been backed by good form off late. At the Indian Grand Prix last month, Sreeshankar produced his best in the last round, crossing the 8m thresholds for the fourth time in his life and won the men's long jump gold comfortably. This is the third Olympics berth India won for Tokyo Olympics in field event after Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh made it in the javelin throw.

On a day when Tamil Nadu's S Dhanalakshmi handed Dutee Chand (Odisha) a rare defeat in a national competition as she blazed the track to win the women's 100m sprint in a stunning time of 11.39 seconds and Amoj Jacob (Delhi) secured a personal best in winning the men's 400m, it was Sreeshankar's National Record that stole the thunder.

Sreeshankar found the perfect combination of acceleration, take off and elevation on his fifth attempt to realise his dream of securing an automatic entry in the Olympic Games by breaching the entry standard of 8.22m. The World No. 24 improved on his own National mark of 8.20m, set in Bhubaneshwar on September 27, 2018.

Getting off the pit, he sensed that he had attained his goal, holding his arms aloft as he watched the officials measure the distance. His joy knew no bounds when he got the confirmation on the electronic board. On each of his four previous attempts, he had breached the 8.00m mark with a string that read 8.02, 8.04, 8.07 and 8.09. He found the explosive combination on the fifth try.

"I am thankful to everyone who supported me to achieve this result. I wanted to prove a point as everyone thought 8.20 was my peak and after that my performance was not the same. I am really very happy," said Sreeshankar.

(With inputs from AFI Media)

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