Jeswin Aldrin targets Sreeshankar’s national record

Says he was hoping to jump over 8m but 8.20m was a surprise

Published - March 14, 2022 09:01 pm IST - KOCHI:

Remarkable effort: Jeswin Aldrin leapt to a distance of 8.20m in the first leg of the Indian GP in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.

Remarkable effort: Jeswin Aldrin leapt to a distance of 8.20m in the first leg of the Indian GP in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. | Photo Credit: S. MAHINSHA

Jeswin Aldrin was a confused kid a few years ago. He started with the long jump at school and then moved to high jump but the best he could do was 1.85m so he returned to the long jump five years ago, at 16, determined to work harder in the event.

He is doing very impressively now. The 20-year-old from Mudalur in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi District produced a 8.20m long jump at the Indian Grand Prix in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday that carried him to the top of the outdoor world list this year.

“I was hoping to jump over 8m but 8.20m was a surprise. I was hoping to do 8.20 in the Federation Cup,” Aldrin, who trains under two-time World championship triple jump silver medallist Yoandris Betanzos of Cuba at the JSW’s Inspire Institute of Sport in Bellary, told The Hindu.

He had trained for nearly two and half years under Frenchman Antony Aich at JSW Sports before that and his previous best was 7.97m (February 2021) but on Sunday he stunningly sailed over 8m thrice with his best coming in the last.

“During that last jump, I wanted to break the national record, I missed it my 7 cms. I think I can break Sreeshankar’s record this year,” said Aldrin, a BA (History) student at Madras Christian College and the eldest son of Johnson, a muscoth halwa businessman, and Esther Selvarani.

“8.20 is now the new normal,” said national record holder Sreeshankar when he heard about the big jump.

The season has just started but the long and triple jumpers have come up with some of the biggest jumps the country has ever seen. Aldrin’s Sunday special was the second best ever by an Indian and Muhammed Anees Yahiya’s 8.15m – while finishing behind Sreeshankar (8.17m) – at the recent Jumps’ Indian Open in Thiruvananthapuram would have been the fourth-best by an Indian but for the absence of the wind reading indicator.

Similarly, triple jumper Eldhose Paul, Karthik Unnikrishnan and Abdulla Aboobacker have all produced big jumps too.

While the stunning performances have brought joy all over, there are many who are shocked too.

The World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games are all lined up between July and September ...will they be consistent? After the huge rise, will there be a slide later?

“Yes, that we call improvement in our athletes’ performance,” said Chief National Coach Radhakrishnan Nair when asked whether he expected such performances early in the season.

“Happy, a bit worried too. I know well about athletes in the (national) camp as I am monitoring their training plan every week, They are in the beginning of specific preparation and these performance are very good in this phase. I can’t say anything about the athletes training outside the camp.”

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