He is currently the World No. 1 junior and has made stunning progress in the last few months. Sadly long jumper M. Sreeshankar will miss next month’s Commonwealth Games in Australia as his entry was sent late.
Also missing the Games will be high jumper Siddharth Yadav, who has the fifth best jump outdoors in the world this year.
The Indian athletics squad reached Gold Coast a few days ago but both Sreeshankar and Siddharth were left behind even as the Athletics Federation of India desperately attempted to sort out the issue with CWG officials.
“Both Sreeshankar and Siddharth’s entries have been rejected, they said they were received late,” Bedros Bedrosian, the National coach for long and triple jumps, revealed to The Hindu from Gold Coast on Tuesday.
When the initial entries were sent late last year, nobody in the AFI thought that the two jumpers would produce the sort of leaps that they came up with during the Federation Cup, the qualification meet, in Patiala early this month.
Thus, their names were not included.
“After the Indoor Asians (in Teheran, in February), I had told everybody that Sreeshankar is capable of jumping 8m and qualifying for the Games but nobody believed me,” said the Romanian coach Bedros.
Sreeshankar leapt to 7.99m in the Federation Cup and to the top of the IAAF’s under-20 list and No. 8 in the outdoor men’s chart while Siddharth’s 2.25m also saw him do an impressive climb.
The AFI appears to have planned its CWG qualification process poorly.
While England announced its team in October and Australia published its list on March 1, the AFI was conducting the Federation Cup from March 5 to 8. And March 7 was the last date for sending entries!
Early trials not feasible
But AFI secretary C.K. Valson said the early trials were not feasible for India.
“The last date for accreditation was in December. It is very difficult for us to give the accreditation details so early (the CWG begins on April 4). We will not know the athletes’ current form,” said Valson on Tuesday morning, before the news of the two rejected entries came in (he did not take calls after that).
“We tried to send Sreeshankar’s entry on March 7 but the system did not accept that because the online entry had to go with the accreditation number.
“We had sent an email regarding this.”