‘Fly Renjith, fly'

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Stan Rayan

KOCHI: “Fly Renjith, fly,” shouted Shvilli Evgeniy as he animatedly flapped his hands from the Maharaja's Stadium stands.

Watching his coach closely from the runway, Renjith Maheswary appeared to have got the message.

The former Asian triple jump champion was in majestic flight in his next jump at the 50th National Open athletics championship here on Saturday. He powered to 16.97m and it comfortably broke his seven-month-old meet record.

“See, he has got a good fly position,” said Shvilli, the Italy-based Indian coach for jumps, clearly happy with Renjith's second round. “He can go a little more… he has to fly more.”

Renjith, the Kerala-born Railway star, was thrilled with his effort, the World's sixth best jump this year. “This is the best season-opener I've had. And this is my second-best jump ever, after my 17.04 (the National record which came three years ago). I feel good.”

He said his National record would in one of the three forthcoming Asian Grand Prix meets.

“I didn't want to go further today because I want to keep the big ones for the next few meets.”

What is his goal for the year? How far can he go? Will he get a medal at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi this October and at the Asian Games in China in November? The questions came rushing by.

A secret

“The focus, naturally, is to get medals in both the Commonwealth and Asian Games and I think it's possible. And my goal for the year… the distance… that's a secret between me and the coach,” said the 24-year-old.

But Shvilli let the cat out of the bag. “The goal is to go to 17.35m at the Commonwealth Games… that's the minimum we expect from him and 17.45 at the Asian Games,” said the coach.

For the record, the gold at the last Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006 went to England's Phillips Idowu with 17.45, while the silver and bronze went for 16.95 and 16.75 jumps, while China's Yanxi Li picked the gold at the 2006 Doha Asian Games with a 17.06 effort.

That is something that should excite athletics buffs all over the country.

“He has got clean action now, very good volume, he is sprinting more and his speed is very good,” said Shvilli, who first coached for two years before the Doha Asian Games and for the last one year.

“He has to go a little more open… and then hammer,” he said as he punched his hand. “And then he'll do great.”

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