The long jump athlete will make his first appearance in the mega event this year.

Indian long jump sensation Murali Sreeshankar is all set to compete in the upcoming 36th National Games to be held in Gujarat. The event will begin on September 29 with all eyes on Sreeshankar in the long jump event. When the National Games took place in 2015 in Kerala, Murli Sreeshankar was in 11th standard and witnessed the event as a spectator.

Seven years on, the national record holder will get a chance to relive the event as a competitor. The 23-year-old recently won a silver medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and will be looking to give his best in the National Games. Just before the much-awaited event, Khel Now got a chance to interact with the long jumper. Let us take a look at what he said about the National Games, his competitors, and his records:

Excited to be a part of National Games

This will be Sreeshankar’s first participation in the National Games and he just can’t wait for the event to begin. He said, “I am very excited about participating in the National Games for the first time, and I am looking forward to the same kind of atmosphere as Kerala. I am sure that Gujarat will be hosting it in the most befitting manner because the government has announced that Gujarat will be the sporting capital of India. It’s also the first time that I am competing in Gujarat.”

He further added, “I have prepared well for the competition and my body is feeling good. I want to finish the season on a good note. If I do so, I will be able to set in motion a few plans for the 2023 season that will be crucial to my preparations for the World Championships and Asian Games.”

Event won’t be a cakewalk

Sreeshankar, who has a personal best of 8.36m, won’t take the mega event lightly. He said, “There are three jumpers with leaps of over 8.15m and they will be treating this outing as a world-level tournament. Besides, the horizontal jumps are the most watched discipline in an athletics competition.”

Sreeshankar will face some tough competition from his own statemate Mohammad Anees Yahiya and Tamil Nadu’s Jeswin Aldrin, who in fact has his best jump recorded at 8.37m.

Had a good learning experience in the past

Murali Sreeshankar had a phenomenal outing at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. On asking about his experience in the World Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games, the CWG silver medalist said, “Extensive travelling, adjusting to different climatic conditions, dealing with travel fatigue, jet lag, and competing with the world’s best was a good learning experience.”

Happy with the ranking

His ranking has risen dramatically from the 60s at the start of the season to sixth. On his exceptional jump in the rank, he said, “I am happy with the rise in my ranking. To get to the top will be difficult, but I am sure it’s very much possible if we have more international exposure in competitions like World Athletics Championships, continental events, and the Diamond League.”

Waiting to meet HS Prannoy and Sajan Prakash

Murali Sreeshankar is all set to compete in the National Games and is excited about his meeting with HS Prannoy and Sajan Prakash. He said, “I am o forward to the prospects of meeting two fellow athletes from God’s own country. The first will be baddie star and recently married HS Prannoy as he was our hero at the Thomas Cup. The second one would be Sajan Prakash who was the best male athlete of 2015 Games.”

Wearing Kerala colours gives Sreeshankar immense pleasure as he concluded the talk by saying, “It feels the same taking part in the National Games or a National Championship in Kerala colours. It’s always a matter of pride when I wear Kerala colours.

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