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Tejaswin Shankar wins high jump gold at USATF Festival, secures crucial points for Paris Olympics qualification

Published at :May 5, 2024 at 5:32 PM
Modified at :May 5, 2024 at 5:32 PM
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(Courtesy : @TejaswinShankar/X)

Ajay Gandhar

Shankar cleared an impressive 2.23m on his first attempt.

Tejaswin Shankar won the men’s high jump event at USATF (USA Track & Field) Festival in Tucson, Arizona, USA. The 25-year-old national record holder cleared an impressive 2.23m on his first attempt to clinch the gold medal at the World Athletics Continental Tour – Silver event.

Shankar’s winning leap of 2.23m equaled his season-best effort, although it fell short of his personal best of 2.29m set in April 2018. Meanwhile, his compatriot Sarvesh Kushare also put up a commendable performance, clearing 2.13m to finish fifth in the same event.

For Shankar, this was his fifth competition of the year and his first in May, as he intensifies his preparations for the upcoming Paris Olympics in 2024. The Hangzhou Asian Games silver medalist in decathlon has been focusing solely on his pet event, the high jump this season, with his sights firmly set on securing an Olympic berth.

The qualifying mark for the 2024 Paris Olympics in the men’s high jump event has been set at a daunting 2.33m. Shankar’s season-best of 2.23m, which he first achieved in February at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Challenger event in Belgium, puts him tantalizingly close to the target.

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However, despite his consistent performances, the Indian high jumper has been unable to surpass his season’s best in the last three events leading up to the USATF Festival. His victory in Tucson, therefore, serves as a significant confidence booster and a sign of the progress he has made in his quest for Olympic qualification.

Shankar, who won a gold medal at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games and a silver at the 2016 South Asian Games broke Hari Shankar Roy’s 12-year-old national high jump record in 2016, clearing an impressive 2.18m at the junior national championships.

The Commonwealth Games bronze medalist topped the field in Tucson, finishing ahead of Earnie Sears and Roberto Vilches. This was Shankar’s second high jump gold in the USA this year, having previously won the Shocker Spring Invitational in Wichita, Kansas City, in March.

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