Monday, July 15, 2024

Asian Athletics C’ships: Murali Sreeshankar wins silver medal, qualifies for Paris Olympics

India’s Murali Sresshankar won the silver medal in the men’s long jump event at the Asian Athletics Championships 2023 and qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics, here on Saturday.

Sreeshankar managed an 8.37m jump — just 0.4m short of his personal best logged in Bhubaneswar last month — with his final attempt of the day but failed to pip Chinese Taipei’s Yu Tang-Lin’s 8.40m attempt, which claimed the gold.

Though Sreeshankar’s final attempt fell short of the gold medal, it was well above the men’s long jump entry standard of 8.27m for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

In a tough battle between Lin and Sreeshankar at Asian Athletics Championships, both athletes set the tone with identical 8.10m efforts with their opening jumps.

Sreeshankar sneaked into the lead with an 8.12m jump with his third try but Lin, the reigning Asian Indoor long jump champion, came up with a mammoth 8.40m, a new championship record, with his fourth attempt.

Saudi Arabia’s Hussein Taher Al-Sabee was the previous meet record holder, courtesy of an 8.33m jump which won him the gold in Jakarta 2000.

Needing to match his personal best for a sight of the gold, the 2022 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sreeshankar came up with his 8.37m final effort. China’s Zhang Mingkun secured the bronze with 8.08m.

In the men’s high jump competition, India’s Anil Sarvesh Kushare clinched the silver medal with a 2.26m clearance. However, he failed to match his personal best of 2.28m and bowed out from gold medal contention.

Korea’s Woo Sang-hyeok, a silver medal winner in the 2022 World Championship and 2018 Asian Games, won the gold, clearing 2.28m. Thailand’s Tawan Kaeodam completed the podium.

Meanwhile, another star Indian athlete Tejaswin Shankar, who holds the national record in men’s high jump (2.29m), finished seventh after failing to clear 2.15m. Tejaswin won the bronze in the decathlon competition in Bangkok earlier this week.

On the other hand, India’s Swapna Barman, the reigning Asian Games heptathlon champion, had to settle for a silver medal. The Indian athlete tallied 5,840 points from the six events to finish behind Uzbekistan’s Ekaterina Voronina, who clinched the gold with 6,098 points. The bronze went to Japan’s Yuki Yamasaki (5,696 points).

Tamilarasan Santhosh Kumar clinched a bronze medal in the men’s 400m hurdles event, clocking a season’s best 49.09s. Qatar’s Mohamed Hemeida Bassem won the race with a personal best of 48.64s while the silver medal went to Japan’s Kodama Yusaku (48.96s). India’s Yashash Palaksha, who competed in the heats, did not start (DNS) in the final.

In the mixed 4x400m relay team event, India’s Rajesh Ramesh, Aishwarya Kailash Mishra, Amoj Jacob and Subha Venkatesan clocked 3:14.70 to win the gold medal, overcoming the challenge from silver medallists Sri Lanka (3:15.41) and bronze medallists Japan (3:15.71).

The Indian quartet broke the previous national record (3:15.71) in the mixed 4x400m relay, set by Muhammed Anas, M. R. Poovamma, Hima Das and Arokia Rajiv at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.

With the addition of the five medals — one gold, three silver and one bronze — on Saturday, India’s total medals tally at the Asian Athletics Championships 2023 currently stands at 13 medals — six gold, three silver and four bronze.

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