Murali Sreeshankar is lucky, having qualified for Tokyo Olympics and being able to stay home and train in familiar surroundings. But, like everyone else, he desperately needs competitions.
The 22-year old long jumper, though, is staying positive. “My preparations are going really fine. It’s been much like pre-season training for me; the only concern, as for all Indian athletes, is being unable to go abroad for training or competitions due to the travel restrictions,” he said during an interaction from Palakkad.
“Soon after the Federation Cup (in March, where he qualified with a new national record of 8.26m) we listed all the areas I might be lacking in and we have been working hard on them for the past 6-8 weeks. It’s a big challenge but the life of an athlete is all about challenges and let’s see how I overcome it,” he added.
The youngster is targeting 8.35-8.40m at Tokyo. “Actually at Patiala itself I was very close to it. Also, the track there is not as fast as Tokyo, which has Mondo track, the best in the world and quite fast.
“Also, my improvement from 8.20 (in 2018) to 8.26m has been because of improved capabilities, strength and speed, not assisted by conditions or atmosphere. Once those aspects also come into play it will get even better,” he explained.
While the upcoming Indian Grand Prix 4 and the Inter-State Championships remain on the radar, Sreeshankar is keen on international outings. “I am ideally looking forward to competition in Europe but if not then at least on the Asian circuit, in Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan because competing on the international circuit is a different level. However, if that doesn’t happen, then definitely I will be there at IGP 4 and Inter-State because to stimulate a competitive atmosphere, domestic meets will also help.”
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