Long jumper Murali Sreeshankar has been in scintillating form in 2023, and on Saturday at the ongoing Asian Championships in Athletics, Sreeshankar lived up to expectations as the 24-year-old from Palakkad not only clinched the medal money with a huge jump of 8.37 meters. on his sixth attempt but has also booked a place at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Sreeshankar at the post-competition press conference highlighted what worked well for him and also discussed things that have changed drastically since a difficult outing at the Lausanne Diamond League in June, where weather played a part. key in slowing Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS) jumper performance.
Speaking about his preparation and performance for the competition, Sreeshankar said, “All the other jumpers in the competition have not competed in the last two months. They have been preparing mainly for the Asian Championships. had a great time preparing, and I came from Switzerland last week. That said, even Yu Tang Lin’s 8.40 jump surprised me, but in such important competitions, I have to keep my blood- cold, and I think I did a good job landing a good jump on my sixth attempt.”
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Further adding to the strategy conversation, Sreeshankar said: “It all depends on the warm-up. To warm up the body, we have to spend a lot of time, but at the same time, it shouldn’t affect our physical condition. If we do no more warm-ups, we won’t have much energy to maintain until the sixth jump. In Lausanne, it was cold and windy. Anyway, big jumps were not possible, so 8 meters or 8, 10 will definitely be a placement jump. Even Tentóglou was also jumping 8-8.10. This season has taught me how to adapt to different weather conditions. When I landed last week in Bangkok, it was very hot and humid, and I bought large bottles of water to constantly keep my hydration in place.” I coordinated with my nutritionist at the Inspire Sports Institute to make sure I was taking in enough fluids and staying hydrated. The main aspect of today’s performance was the warm up. We strategized very well for the final, but if I had covered that distance in the first three jumps, things could have been different.”
Sreeshankar’s longest jump of the season was 8.41 meters, which the Commonwealth Games silver medalist achieved at the National Interstate Championships which helped him qualify for the Asian Games. Going further, Sreeshankar also broke the Paris Olympics qualifying mark of 8.27 meters opening his 2024 season for a longer preparation period.
“I thought the winning distance would be 8.20 at 25 yards. I knew the jumper from Chinese Taipei was there, and there was another guy whose season best was 8.22. Our first goal was to get the Olympic qualifying score of 8.27 because I felt great.” good at training in Switzerland last week. When we checked the weather in Thailand, it was also hot and humid, and the coach said it was definitely possible. Considering the fact that I have qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics, I am very relieved, and I will open my 2024 season very late. I will probably only start in May/June. So I will have plenty of time to prepare for the offseason. The Asian Games will end in the first week of October and after rest and recovery, I will not be able to start my training until the first or second week of November. I need solid time for the Olympic preparations,” he said.
Finally, Sreeshankar remembered the fact that after the last jump he almost thought it was surely above 8.45 meters and he broke his personal best as well as the national record.
“When I saw my last jump, I really thought it was above 8.45 because it was very close to the 8.50 mark, and I thought it was a jump winner but unfortunately we didn’t make it Overall it was a really good competition In the previous jumps I was taking off behind the board a lot most of the time touching it I knew that today would be a good day to jump as the weather was similar to Bhubaneswar and my body reacts very well to the hot and humid conditions. , and we did it pretty well. We were able to time the warm up very well today. We didn’t lose a lot of energy, and we were able to keep it for the duration of the competition, which was about two hours,” he concluded.