The Tamil Nadu high-jumper clinched the Gold Medal at the event.

Murali Sreeshankar from Kerala and Jeswin Aldrin from Tamil Nadu carried out a fascinating contest on Day 2 of the Federation Cup athletics meet in Kozhikode, Kerala on Sunday. Aldrin clinched the Gold Medal in the meet with a jump of 8.37m, however, it will not be counted as the national record because he recorded a wind-aided jump (the wind reading was above the legal limit of 2m). 

Sreeshankar, on the other hand, finished second in the competition with a jump of 8.36m and in the process, broke his previous national record of 8.26m. The tournament witnessed another record with three Indians recording jumps over 8m for the first time.

Speaking about his performance, Aldrin said, “This is a new standard of long jump in India, and the competition will definitely help the sport. I am happy that I have managed to qualify for the World Championship with my performance and I am hoping that I can repeat my Federation Cup performances on the world stage as well.”

IIS Athletics Head Coach Yoandri Betanzos expressed that Aldrin showed a lot of grit during the Federation Cup, “Jeswin’s performance was very good, we knew he could do it because he was doing similar jumps in training, but he showed a lot of grit to showcase that performance in competition. One of Jeswin’s strongest traits is that apart from being a very talented athlete, has a very strong mind and is able to catch minor adjustments in technique very well. Our first goal was to clear 8m regularly, which is now achieved. We will now put more emphasis on some of his technical details and focus on our next targets, which are to put in strong performances at the World Championships, Commonwealth and Asian Games.”

Aldrin, who was scouted into the Inspire Institute of Sport athletics program in 2018 as a talented 16-year old with a Personal Best of 7.51m, has trained under French Head Coach Antony Yaich for three years and has been sent for training and exposure camps to France and South Africa in the last few years. Since January, he’s been working with the new IIS Athletics Head Coach Yoandri Betanzos from Cuba, who is a five-time World Championship medal-winning triple jumper.

Sreeshankar also spoke about his duel with Aldrin in the Federation Cup, “It was a world-class performance by Jeswin and it’s great to have us push each other. (Muhammed) Anees also jumped 8m plus, so this is a great sign for Indian long jump and hopefully, we’ll have some good performances in the upcoming major events.”

Aldrin and Sreeshankar also qualified for the World Championship to be held in Orgeon, USA later this year, as they recorded jumps over the qualification mark of 8.22m. Aldrin’s second-best jump of 8.26m, which wasn’t a wind-aided jump, was counted for his qualification. The two jumps (Sreeshankar – 8.36m and Aldrin – 8.26m) are now the top two marks in the world so far (outdoors).

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