India’s long-jump star M Sreeshankar sees World Indoor Championships as stage to improve his efforts

M Sreeshankar will be in action in Belgrade (File photo)
M Sreeshankar will be in action in Belgrade (File photo)

India’s national record holder in men’s long jump M Sreeshankar has something to prove when he competes next week at the World Indoor Championships. The 22-years-old from Kerala wants to display his abilities on the big stage of the Athletics world in the event which begins on March 18, in Belgrade, Serbia.

“I’m enjoying good health. It's important for me to perform better on the field. My goal in Belgrade is to repeat my recent performance of 8.17m.”

The March 18-20 Belgrade World Indoor Championships will be M Sreeshankar’s first international meet of the year. He recently won gold at the domestic meet in Kerala.

Last year, the promising Palakkad-based long jumper faced a barrage of criticism for below-par performances at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Prior to the Olympics, in June 2021, Sreeshankar had actually improved his national record to 8.26m. But a few weeks later, at the Tokyo Games, he failed to breach the 8m mark and didn't qualify for the medal round.

But M Sreeshankar isn't disheartened by what happened in Tokyo. For him, the disappointment of the Olympic Games are in the past. The long jumper said he has learned a lot from his past experience, both on and off the field.

He also has vivid memories of the 2018 Asian Indoor Championships. Sreeshankar recalled what had been his experience in that event.

“At the indoor competition, there is no worry of 'wind gauge'. The focus is entirely on the run-up and take-off."

Competing at the Belgrade World Indoor Championships will have its advantages and disadvantages. A good jump will certainly give a boost to M Sreeshankar's confidence. His main goal is to have a podium finish in the upcoming international outdoor competitions.

Still, below-par performances could act as a deterrent and force him to return to the drawing table. The national record holder acknowledges the fact that there is no scope for laxity in Belgrade.

He expressed his determination in these words:

“I’m mentally and physically prepared to face a tough challenge in Serbia."

M Sreeshankar will skip Sunday’s leg of the Indian Grand Prix meet in Thiruvananthapuram due to domestic travel. The three-member Indian athletics team will leave for Belgrade on March 15.

After the Belgrade competition, he will compete in the domestic competition in April.

The young athlete concluded by saying:

“I’ve plans to compete in Europe in May to prepare for the upcoming major international competitions, including the Commonwealth and Asian Games."

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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