There was a sense of calmness when Murali Sreeshankar went about his business at the 2022 World Athletics Championships' long jump qualification event in Oregon on Saturday.
The 23-year-old started off with a decent 7.86m in his first attempt before leaping an exact 8m distance in his second jump to all but seal a spot in the World Championships final for Sunday.
He did foul in his final attempt and qualified a lowly seventh out of 12, but that should not really bother him come Sunday.
Sreeshankar's graph has gone upwards ever since the Tokyo Olympics debacle. He has leapt over 8m at will this season. The Kerala lad has crossed the 8m in all but two of his competitions this season.
He started his season with a beautiful 8.17m albeit without any wind reading at the India Open Jumps Competition in March earlier this year. This was followed by jumps of 8.09 in Federation Cup qualification and a National Record jump of 8.36m in the final in April.
His other jumps in the season read 8.31m in International Jumping Meeting, 8.01m and 8.23m at the Inter-State Athletics qualification and final.
The two jumps below 8m in the outdoor section stood at 7.81m at the Chania International Meeting qualification before bagging winning the same event with a best of 7.95m.
That is 7 out of 9 outdoor competitions where the Sreeshankar has breached the 8m barrier. The only other jumper to have recorded more 8m this season has been Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece with 10 jumps.
Besides, only three other jumpers have bettered Sreeshankar's consistency of 8m jumps this year. They are Eusebio Caceres (5 out of 5), Tentoglou (10 out of 11) and Marquis Dendy 5 out of 6.
Both these statistics indicate that Sreeshankar would be one of the better-placed athletes to deliver those big jumps under the pressure of competing in a World Championships final.
Moreover, Sreeshankar's national record attempt of 8.36m registered in April this year remains the joint second best jump in the world this year with Tentoglou, only behind Switzerland's Simon Ehammer's 8.45m.
While statistically, Murali Sreeshankar remains one of the prime bets to bag a podium in the men's long jump at the 2022 World Athletics Championships, it will all surely boil down to how he handles the pressure during the final.