Stan Rayan

KOCHI: The last-year-and-a-half had been a story of pain, disappointment and confusion for Mayookha Johny.

Pain and disappointment, for the country's fastest rising long and triple jumper had missed major meets because of an ankle ligament injury. Confusion, for she doesn't know where she stands now in the country and the continent.

Mayookha returns to athletics competition after the long break at the National Open which begins on Saturday at the Maharaja's Stadium here, a venue which has brought her both joy and sorrow.

For it's the same place where she posted both her personal best marks in 2008 (6.44m in long jump at the National Open and 13.56m in triple jump at the Varsities National Championship) and also suffered the ankle injury.

“Since she is coming back after such a long break, we will be doing only the long jump here,” said her coach Jose Mathew, who has been training her for the last seven years, on Friday.

Slow and steady

“We're taking things slowly since it's a long season with the Commonwealth Games (in Delhi in October) and Asian Games (in China in December) coming up. So don't expect any big jumps here.”

Despite the long layoff, Mayookha is clear about where she can go this year.

“I'll do both the long and triple jumps in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. But when it comes to medal chances, I think there is a medal chance in triple jump at the Commonwealth Games and in long jump at the Asian Games,” said the 22-year-old.

Jose Thomas, who is also a national coach for women's long and triple jumps, predicts that Mayookha could do something around 6.70m in the long jump this year at the Commonwealth Games or Asiad.

“We have planned it in such a way that she will move up a gear by the time of the Asian All-Star Meet in July,” said Jose.

“But we've not set any goals in the triple jump, we'll have to wait and watch.”

While Kerala's Mayookha is likely to go for controlled jumps at the National Open, Resmi Bose, her friend and jumping partner at the National camp, is expected to come up with some big numbers soon.

Resmi in top form

“Resmi is in top form, she has a chance to even do 6.40m,” said Jose, who also coaches the Railway athlete. The country's top three jumpers — Mayookha, Resmi and Railway's M.K. Prajusha — all come from Kerala. And as the season moves into top gear, there could be some very interesting battles between the three.

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