New Delhi [India], March 21 (ANI): Sreesankhar, the 21-year-old from Palakkad in Kerala, jumped 8.26m in the long jump event at the Federation Cup to redefine the national record and secure a spot at Tokyo Olympics. For the youngster, it was just the reward for his passion and love for sports and athletics, honed by calculated and methodical guidance from his parents.
It was no wonder that the youngster took to sports and athletics right from a very young age. His father and his mother KS Bijimol both represented and won laurels for India in various international meets. Their influence and the fact that most of his family including cousins were all involved in various sports meant Sreeshankar’s initiation into track and field was no surprise.
“From a very young age, I was quite interested in sports. I was particularly into track and field because both my parents were international athletes. Almost all my family members were related to sports one way or the other. My cousins were tennis players, basketball players. So this was what was around me from my childhood. I was quite into this field, naturally,” Sreeshankar told the Olympic Channel.
Though he found his calling in the long jump, Sreeshankar was initially a sprinter and one who had considerable success in the junior circuits as well.
“I would go to the nearby grounds along with my father and would run and play all the time. As a young kid, I started as a sprinter. I had success as a sprinter too, winning gold medals in the district and state level meets. I didn’t train seriously during that time though. It was more like having fun for me. I gradually shifted to a long jump as I grew up. (That was because) my father realised the potential in me and felt that I have a good jumping ability. So, I gradually shifted from sprinting to a long jump. I started serious training in the long jump from my 10th standard,” said Sreeshankar.
“And I did not start training heavily back then. My father initiated me slowly into long jumping. He was building me up meticulously in a proper way, considering all fundamentals required to become a proper long jumper. My dad himself was a long jumper and had trained under foreign coaches and knew how to develop an athlete properly,” he added.
And the result of that patient approach was an 8.26m jump that has propelled him straight into the Olympics and made the country sit up and take note of a precocious talent.
“What he focused on me was to build my fundamentals properly. Year by year, I was making sure that I had progressed in my jumps by around 20-25 cms. I kept on adding to my jumps and I got the big jump now,” revealed a confident Sreeshankar.
However, this was not the first time Sreeshankar had given us a glimpse of his capabilities. He broke the long jump national record for the first time back in September 2018 at the National Open Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar which came on the back of a disappointing Asian Games where he finished sixth after run-up issues. All of 19 years old back then, his distance of 8.20m was the world-leading jump of the season among U20 athletes.
“There are a lot of technical corrections I need to make and improvise. If I’m able to get those right, I’m sure I’ll be able to jump around 8.40m by the end of the season. Hopefully, I can do that in the Olympic games and win that elusive medal for our country,” said Sreeshankar.
Apart from the technical support from his parents, their mental support has been key in keeping the flame raging high on Sreeshankar’s Olympic dream.
“They never said anything negative to me regarding my sporting career. Both of them were international athletes, they knew how to develop one and what should be my mindset, and how my daily life should be. My mother used to prescribe a diet for me. I’m also working with a dietician and he communicates the diet to my mother and she makes sure I stick to the diet. My father knew how tiresome and what sort of dedication is required to excel at a higher level. Both are very influential in my career,” he said.
“That’s what many of our athletes lack. If they’re coming from a non-sporting background, their parents or relatives may not understand the exact situation. My case was very different because of my family and parents,” he signed off. (ANI)
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Real Madrid, City storm into UEFA Champions League semi-finals
Manchester City advanced into the Champions League semi-finals after bouncing back from one goal down to snatch a 2-1 win over Dortmund (4-2 on aggregate), courtesy of Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden second-half goals.
Both teams staged a slow start into the clash but Jude Bellingham’s well-placed opener from 15 metres on 15 minutes sparked the game to life on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.
Three minutes later, Dortmund had another promising effort on target as Manuel Akanji’s header following a corner forced Manchester City’s goalkeeper Ederson into action.
City dominated the proceedings on the pitch, but the hosts were still able to take the narrow lead into the half time.
In another game, Liverpool were left to rue a host of missed chances as Real Madrid held out for a 0-0 draw at Anfield to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League 3-1 on aggregate.
Mohamed Salah and Georginio Wijnaldum were guilty of wasting glorious opportunities to get Jurgen Klopp’s men back into the tie as they failed to replicate a remarkable recovery from 3-0 down to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate at the semi-final stage two years ago.
Madrid were far from their best, but did not need to be to set up a semi-final clash with Chelsea as Los Blancos extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 14 games.
Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane warned after Saturday’s 2-1 El Clasico win over Barcelona that his players were at their “physical limit” and the visitors looked jaded as they were happy to sit on their first leg lead.
UEFA is set to announce major changes to the Champions League next week but the make-up of this season’s semi-finalists confirms the extent to which elite club football in Europe has already been
KOHLI NAMED WISDEN ODI CRICKETER OF THE 2010S
India skipper Virat Kohli has been named Wisden Almanack’s ODI cricketer of the 2010s. Kohli made more than 11,000 runs in the period, averaging over 60 and scoring 42 hundreds.
The decade began with him winning the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011, and he added a Champions Trophy title two years later, top-scoring in the final. In five global ICC 50-over tournaments in the decade, Kohli and India never fell before the semi-final stage. Apart from this, England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been named Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World in 2020. West Indian all-rounder Jason Holder, Pakistani wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan, England’s emerging stars Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley, and Kent’s 44-yr old Darren Stevens have been named as the Five Cricketers of the Year.
Australia women cricketer Beth Mooney has been awarded as the leading women cricketer. West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard was named as the leading T20I cricketer in the world.
Earlier in the year, Kohli was named as the ICC Male Cricketer of the Decade and the ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Decade.
“My only intention was to make winning contributions for the team and I just strive to do that in every game. Stats just become the byproduct of what you want to do on the field,” Kohli had said after winning the award.
Kohli was also named the skipper of ICC’s Test Team of the Decade.
In 2019, Kohli had surpassed MS Dhoni to become India’s most successful Test skipper. After winning the Test against West Indies, Kohli had scripted his 28th Test win as captain.
Will Dhoni’s Chennai up their ante against Punjab?
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have their work cut out as they take on buoyant Punjab Kings in their second match of the IPL 2021 on Friday night.The MS Dhoni-led side put in a horrible performance on the field in their first match against Delhi Capitals, dropping catches and bowling too many poor deliveries.
Punjab Kings on the other hand survived a scare from Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson, who hit a century, in their first match as they held on to win the game by a slender margin of four runs even after having put up 221.
CSK have had too many ageing cricketers in their side. That apart, many of the players, including skipper MS Dhoni, haven’t played too much cricket in recent times which is why they look rusty.
On a belter of a wicket at the Wankhede Stadium, CSK’s bowling struggled for ideas. Spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali looked ineffective partly because Prithvi Shaw was dropped twice off Moeen’s bowling.
CSK’s top-order batting also needs to fire. Had it not been for Sam Curran, who hit a 15-ball 34 towards the end, CSK would have barely crossed 150.
Skipper Dhoni had said after the match that a 200-run total would be the safest considering the dew sets in later.
Dew could have been the problem for CSK in their first match and Friday’s match against PK will prove further if it was dew or plain rustiness.
PK have very few worries, especially in their batting. Deepak Hooda was pushed up the batting order, to No. 4 and he repaid the faith put in him by the team management, scoring a 28-ball 64.
With Hooda shining, the top six of the line-up looks completely packed with power. KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Hooda, Nicholas Pooran and Shahrukh Khan are batsmen who can whack the ball to a distance while Mayank Agarwal can provide the steady hand.
The only concern for PK would be the Australian pace duo Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson, who were clobbered for runs.
One of those Aussies may have to give way to spinner Ravi Bishnoi.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
• The successful comeback of Suresh Raina.
• Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, and Sam Curran.
• Flop show of openers in the previous match.
• Sam Curran and Shardul Thakur were very expensive.
• K.L. Rahul and Chris Gayle are in good touch.
• Hooda’s power-hitting.
• Mohammed Shami’s comeback boost to the team.
• Expensive buys like Riley Meredith & Jhye Richardson proved to be expensive.
NEED TO WORK ON PLAN B IF WE WANT TO WIN A MEDAL IN OLYMPICS: CHIRAG SHETTY
World number ten doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy have been on top of their game and the duo would be expected to perform to the best of their ability in order to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
The duo was recently knocked out from the All England Open in the second round and they would next be seen in the India Open which will be played in New Delhi behind closed doors this May. India Open 2021 will be conducted behind closed doors at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall in New Delhi from May 11-16. The tournament, which is also an Olympic qualifier event, has attracted 228 (114 men and 114 women) entries from 33 different national associations including China.
Chirag Shetty believes that if the duo wants to return with a medal from the Olympics, then they need to have a sort-out plan B as sometimes plan A does not work out.
“We started off the year playing tournaments, we have played a pre-quarterfinal and a semi-final in the second tournament. Playing after a year, we had some good matches in Thailand, although we lost in the second match of our first tournament, we played a very close game against the world number two and also in the second tournament, we beat some really good players to make the semi-final. We would have loved to play the finals, but I think overall it was a good tournament.
“I think we would like to play a new trend of the game. If we really need to go for a shot at the medal in Olympics, we need to have a Plan B as well because we need to focus on our Plan B if our plan A is not working,” said Shetty while replying to a query.
Morris’ cameo, Miller magic help RR beat DC
Chasing 148, the left-handed Miller came out to bat with the score at 17/3, and guided Rajasthan’s innings with a knock of 62 runs. With 27 needed off the final two overs, Morris stepped up to the occasion to take his side over the line.
Back against the ball, left-handed batsman David Miller produced a 62-run knock and it was followed by Chris Morris’ cameo of 36 runs off just 18 balls as Rajasthan Royals defeated Delhi Capitals by three wickets in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Thursday here at the Wankhede Stadium.
Miller played a knock of 62 runs. The left-handed batter came out to bat with the score at 17/3, and he guided Rajasthan’s innings. And with 27 needed off the final two overs, Morris stepped up to the occasion to take his side over the line with two balls to spare. With this win, Rajasthan has registered their first victory in this edition of the IPL. Chasing 148, Rajasthan did not get off to an ideal start as the side lost its opening batters Manan Vohra (9) and Jos Buttler (2) in the third over of the innings. Chris Woakes provided the first two breakthroughs to Delhi. In the very next over, Kagiso Rabada dismissed Sanju Samson (4), leaving Rajasthan in a spot of bother at 17/3.
Shivam Dube and David Miller put on a 19-run stand for the fourth wicket, but Avesh Khan cut short the partnership in the eighth over as he dismissed the left-handed Dube (2). Avesh caused further trouble as he sent Riyan Parag (2) back to the pavilion, reducing Rajasthan to 42/5 in the 10th over. Rahul Tewatia then joined Miller in the middle and the partnership between these two batters saw Miller taking the mantle and accelerating the innings.
Miller and Tewatia put on 48 runs for the sixth wicket, but as soon as Rajasthan started getting on course for a win, Delhi stormed right back as Rabada sent Tewatia (19) back to the pavilion. Miller went on to register his half-century and he even dispatch Avesh for two consecutive sixes, but in looking for a third, he ended up losing his wicket in the 16th over after playing a knock of 62 runs.
With 27 needed off the final two overs, Morris first smashed Rabada for 15 runs in the penultimate over, and with 12 needed off the final over, Morris and Jaydev Unadkat managed to guide Rajasthan over the line by three wickets.
Earlier, an inspired bowling performance by Jaydev Unadkat, Chris Morris, and Mustafizur Rahman helped Rajasthan Royals restrict Delhi Capitals to 147/8. Delhi kept on losing wickets at regular intervals, and although skipper Rishabh Pant played a knock of 51, Delhi would have been hoping for a big partnership from skipper Rishabh Pant and Marcus Stoinis, but this was not to be the case as Mustafizur Rahman had Stoinis (0) fooled by a slower delivery in the seventh over, and as a result, Delhi was reduced to 37/4.
Lalit Yadav and Rishabh Pant then got together at the crease and the duo revived the innings for Delhi by stitching a partnership of 51 runs for the fifth wicket, and this saw skipper Pant going past his 50-run mark. However, as soon as Delhi’s innings started to come on track, Pant (51) was sent back to the pavilion via a run-out. Soon after, Lalit Yadav (20) was dismissed by Chris Morris, reducing Delhi to 100/6 in the 15th over. In the final overs, Tom Curran (21), Ravichandran Ashwin (7), and Chris Woakes (15*) added some crucial runs to the total and as a result, Delhi Capitals posted a total of more than the 140-run mark.
Brief Scores: Delhi Capitals 147/8 (Rishabh Pant 51, Tom Curran 21, Jaydev Unadkat 3-15); Rajasthan Royals 150/7 (David Miller 62, Chris Morris 36*, Avesh Khan 3-32).
ZIMBABWE’S HEATH STREAK BANNED FOR EIGHT YEARS UNDER ICC ANTI-CORRUPTION CODE
Former Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak on Wednesday was banned from all cricket for eight years after he accepted five charges of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.
Streak was charged as a participant under the Code by virtue of his status as the coach of Zimbabwe from 2016 to 2018 and as the coach of various domestic teams. The charges are as follows: 2.3.2 – disclosing inside information under both the ICC Code and various domestic Codes, in circumstances where he knew or should have known that such information may be used for betting purposes. In particular, he disclosed inside information in relation to matches in the 2018 Tri-Series involving Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, the Zimbabwe versus Afghanistan series in 2018, the IPL 2018, and the APL 2018.
2.3.3 – directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, persuading, encouraging, or intentionally facilitating any participant to breach the Code. In particular, he facilitated or attempted to facilitate the introduction of four different players, including a national captain, to someone he knew, or should have known, may have wanted to approach them to provide inside information for betting purposes.
Under the provisions of the Code, Streak chose to admit the charges and agreed with the sanction with the ICC in lieu of an Anti-Corruption Tribunal hearing. He will be free to resume his involvement in the game on March 28, 2029.
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