Athletics

Sreeshankar opens season with silver in France

Moment to cherish: M. Sreeshankar finds himself surrounded by young admirers after winning the silver at Lyon on Friday.

Moment to cherish: M. Sreeshankar finds himself surrounded by young admirers after winning the silver at Lyon on Friday.  

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Hopes to be an early bird for the Olympics

With kids crowding around him for autographs, young long jumper M. Sreeshankar had his first taste of how attractive athletics competitions can be in Europe.

The 20-year-old opened his international season at Lyon, France, on Friday and he took the silver with a wind-aided 7.93m at the Pierre-Benite Envol meet. Frenchman Raihau Maiau, a former World University Games bronze medallist, took the gold with 7.94m.

“It was very cold and windy.

“I’ll be taking part in three meets during this trip and we have set a target of 8m since I’m coming back after a heel injury,” Sreeshankar told The Hindu from Lyon on Saturday.

Two of his best jumps, 7.93 and 7.87, had winds above +3.0 and he had a best of 7.79m with a legal wind.

Sreeshankar has already qualified for this September’s World championships with his 8.20m, the senior National record, which came with the Open National gold in Bhubaneswar late last year, and he hopes to be an early bird for next year’s Tokyo Olympics by making the cut (8.22m) next month.

“The plan is to qualify for the Olympics at the Almaty meet on July 6 or at the inter-State Nationals after that.”

The meet, a jumps-only event, attracted some big names, including pole vault World record-holder Renaud Lavillenie.

“It was wonderful watching Lavillenie from close. And there was a big crowd,” said Sreeshankar who is accompanied by his father-and-coach S. Murali.

Lavillenie, who was also returning from an injury, however, did not have a good day, finishing sixth (5.45m) with his younger brother Valentin flying away with the gold at 5.81m.

Sreeshankar, who is supported by the Target Olympic Podium scheme, will next be in action in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday and later at the Sopot Grand Prix in Poland on June 23.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 6:27:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/athletics/sreeshankar-opens-season-with-silver-in-france/article27950904.ece

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