It will be three way fight in National Games long jump event: Murali Sreeshankar


When the National Games were last held in 2015 in his home state of Kerala, MuraliSreeshankar was in the 11th standard and witnessed the event as a spectator. The festive atmosphere, the packed galleries at the athletics competition in Thiruvanathapuram, and the adulation that was showered on the athletes remained ingrained in his memory.
Seven years on, the national record holder in the men’s long jump and recent Commonwealth Games silver medalist, now gets his chance to relive the event as a competitor, and as a huge star at that. His excitement at the prospect is building up by the day.
“I am very excited about participating in the National Games for the first time and I’m looking forward to the same kind of atmosphere (we had in Kerala). I am sure that Gujarat will be hosting it in the most befitting manner because the government has announced that Gujarat will be the sporting capital of India. It’s also the first time I will be competing in Gujarat,” Sreeshankar said during a Zoom interaction with the media today.
The 23-year-old native of Palakkad, who is coached by his father, said he has prepared well for this competition, his body is feeling good, he has set a target for this competition and wants to finish the season on a good note. “If I do so I will be able to set in motion a few plans for the 2023 season that will be crucial to my preparations for the World Championships and Asian Games,” he opined.
Sreeshankar, who set his own national long jump record thrice and has a personal best of 8.36 m, refuted the notion that the National Games would be a cakewalk. He pointed out that there are three jumpers with leaps of over 8.15 and would be treating this outing as a world level tournament. Besides, the horizontal jumps are the most watched discipline in an athletics competition, he pointed out.
Sreeshankar will be facing stiff competition from the likes of his own statemate Mohammed Anees Yahiya and Tamil Nadu’s JeswinAldrin who in fact has a wind-assisted leap of 8.37 m.
In reply to a question, Sreeshankar said that the extensive travelling, adjusting to different climatic conditions, dealing with travel fatigue, jet lag, and competing with the world’s best was a “good learning experience”.