Kallithea: India's Murali Sreeshankar successfully defended his title in the men's long jump event at the International Jumping Meeting 2023, qualifying for the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in September.
The 24-year-old Sreeshankar had won the International Jumping Meeting here last year with an effort of 8.31m, registered his season-best jump of 8.18m to beat compatriot and national record holder Jeswin Aldrin, who claimed silver with an effort of 7.85m.
The International Jumping Meeting at the Kallithea is a World Athletics Continental Tour bronze-label event.
Sreeshankar, who bagged a silver in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year, came up with his best jump came in his sixth and final attempt. His other jumps measured 7.94m, 8.17m, 8.11m, 8.04m and 8.01m.
Jeswin Aldrin, who claimed the silver medal in Asian Indoor Athletics Championship earlier this year, meanwhile, warmed up with a jump of 7.81m and had his best jump on his second attempt. His subsequent tries read 7.74m, 7.74m and 7.79m. Jeswin Aldrin's final attempt ended up as a foul. Jalen Rucker of Australia won bronze for a 7.80m effort in the 12-man field.
This was Sreeshankar's third competition of the year and also the third gold medal. He won the gold medal at the MVA High-Performance athletics meet in Chula Vista, USA in May with an effort of 8.29m -- 0.07m short of his personal best. Earlier, he won the long jump event at the third Indian Grand Prix in March with a jump of 7.94m.
Since Sreeshankar's jump in Chula Vista was wind-assisted by +3.1m/s, it did not help him make the cut for the World Athletics Championships 2023 to be held in Budapest in August, said a report in Olympics.org.
Jumps with over +2.0m/s wind assistance are not logged as official records or qualifying timings in the long jump. The entry standard for world championships is set at 8.25m.
However, Sreeshankar's effort on Wednesday helped him make the cut for the Asian Games 2023, which is set at 7.95m by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for the men's long jump. IANS