Kerala triple jumper Abdulla Aboobacker wins ticket to the World Athletics Championships

Abdulla Aboobacker in action during his gold medal-winning performance at the IGP (Image: Twitter/AFI)
Abdulla Aboobacker in action during his gold medal-winning performance at the IGP (Image: Twitter/AFI)

Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium in Odisha turned out to be a happy hunting ground for Kerala’s 26-year-old Abdulla Aboobacker on Saturday. His gold medal-winning effort of 17.19m in the men’s triple jump at the Indian Grand Prix earned him qualification for the World Athletics Championships also.

The qualifying mark for the Championships, to be held in Oregon, USA, in July, was 17.14m.

The triple-jumper from Kerala dominated the event. Karthik U won silver with a jump of 17.10m, while Eldhose Paul settled for a bronze with a jump of 16.87m.

Abdulla Aboobacker in elite club of Indian athletes


With Saturday’s performance, both Abdulla Aboobacker and Karthik U joined the Indian 17m triple jump club. Renjith Maheswary and Aprinder Singh are the two other Indian jumpers who have crossed the 17m barrier.

Abdulla Aboobacker started his gold medal campaign with a modest jump of 16m. The following three jumps were foul. However, he regained his rhythm in the final attempt to land at the 17.19m mark and seal a berth for the World Athletics Championships.

This effort in Bhubaneswar was Aboobacker's personal and the season's best. Earlier, in March, at the Federation Cup held in Kerala, his best jump was 16.81m, but it was wind-aided and not legal.

Performance of other top athletes

Tajinderpal Singh Toor skipped the event
Tajinderpal Singh Toor skipped the event

Beyond the triple jump, the performance of the elite Indian athletes was not so encouraging. All eyes were on the men's and women’s 800m races, but the top runners failed to impress.

The focus in the men’s two-lap race was on Uttarakhand’s 19-year-old Anu Kumar, but he dropped out halfway through the race. The eventual winner Krishan Kumar crossed the finish line in 1:47.92 seconds, which was far off the Birmingham Commonwealth Games qualification mark of 1:46.07 seconds.

Lili Das of West Bengal dominated the women’s 800m race, but she looked off colour. Her gold medal-winning performance of 2:10.72 seconds was ordinary by her standards.

India’s star discus thrower Seema Punia of Uttar Pradesh claimed silver, while Navjeet Kaur Dhillon of Punjab won gold. Navjeet’s best throw was 58.03m, which fell short of the World Athletics Championships qualifying mark of 63.50m. Seema's silver winning throw was 55.97m.

Several top athletes, including the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games champion in men's shot put, Tajinderpal Singh Toor, skipped the third leg of IGP. The fourth leg of the IGP will be held on May 24 at the same venue.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat