EXCLUSIVE: Sreeshankar's focus will be to reach finals at the Athletics World Championships
Sreeshankar's father says his son's target is to earn the Tokyo 2020 Olympics berth.
Murali Sreeshankar is one of the most promising names Indian athletics today. The 20-year-old from Palakkad in Kerala is the sixth person in the history of Indian long jump to have crossed the 8-metre mark so far. He currently holds the national record of 8.2 metres in long jump, which he executed at the Open National Championship in Bhubaneswar last year.
Still Sreehankar’s father S Murali, a former international in triple jump, who is also Sreeshankar's coach, did not seem to be much happy. Rather, he was cautious while speaking to The Bridge over the phone on Wednesday from home in Palakkad. He said:
Sreeshankar’s tryst with long jump began when he was five years old. His mother Bijimol was a prominent middle-distance runner. Always being in a sporting environment, Sreeshankar’s infatuation for athletics was expected. Initially, at the junior level, Sreeshakar had taken part in the sprint and 200 metres event. But gradually, his father shifted him to long jump.
But who knows about another excellent ingredient of Sreeshankar? He has been outstanding in his study right from the beginning. He topped the 10th standard examination of CBSC board in his state. Then he also became topper in the MSS engineering college in Palakkad. Now he is studying BSC, honours in Mathematics at the Palakkad Govt. Victoria College.
Murali, who flew to Doha on Wednesday to join his son also informed, “Sreeshankar trains only once a day in the evening. The reason is that every day he studies till midnight!” Sreeshankar has received job offers for a couple of times from the government sector like Railways and Banks. But he has refused mainly due to his stupendous interest in studies. Still, for the last two years, he is supported by JSW.
In spite of having earned so many laurels at the junior level, the most precious moment in Sreeshankar's life was meeting his idol Mike Powell. Murali revealed, “Sreeshankar had gone to Finland to take part in an invitation tournament. There he met Mike Powell. Besides posing for a photograph with the legendary long jumper, Sreeshankar also got some valuable advice on his training method. He was simply ecstatic while talking about his meeting with Powell after returning from Finland.”