Birmingham, Aug 5: Historic day for Indian athletics! M Sreeshankar scripted history as he clinched India’s first Commonwealth Games medal in the men’s long jump event in Birmingham on Thursday.
While India have a bronze and a silver medallist in the women’s long jump event in CWG, 23-year-old Sreeshankar’s effort saw the Indian men clinch their first-ever CWG medal in the men’s long jump event. The win took India’s medal tally to 19, including five gold medals, seven silver medals and seven bronze medals.
India had two athletes in the fray in the men’s long jump final - M Sreeshankar and Muhammed Anees Yahiya. Both got off to a slow start.
Sreeshankar started off with an effort of 7.60m, followed by two consecutive efforts of 7.84m. The effort of 7.84metres saw Sreeshankar qualify for the next round. Following the first three rounds, only the top eight qualify and fight it out for the medals. M Sreeshankar, placed sixth and Anees, placed eighth qualified for the next three attempts.
On his fourth attempt Sreeshankar registered a foul as he overstepped. The jump could have put him in the top three, but the Indian athlete missed it by a whisker. But Sreeshankar made amends and how, as the Indian athlete came up with a fantastic effort of 8.08m to move into the second position. His final attempt saw him register a foul, with his fifth attempt being his best.
Sreeshankar’s effort saw him tie with Bahama’s Laquan Nairn with a best effort of 8.08m. Sreeshankar was awarded silver judged on his second-best jump. The Indian athlete’s second-best attempt of 7.84m saw him pick up silver as Nairn’s second-best effort of 7.98m saw him take gold.
For Yahiya, it was heartbreak as his best effort of 7.97 saw him finish fifth. After starting with a foul, Yahiya, registered attempts of 7.65m, 7.72m, 7.74m, 7.58m and his best effort of 7.97.
Earlier, Sreeshankar stormed into the final after his very first jump of 8.05M. The 32-year-old athlete from Kerala, one of the top Indian medal contenders, was the only athlete in his group to go past the qualifying mark of 8m.
National record holder Sreeshankar has been in fine form with 8M-plus jumps on many occasions this season though he failed to impress in his seventh place finish at Oregon 2022 final with a best jump of 7.96M.
Sreeshankar was heading into Birmingham 2022 as season leader among the athletes from the Commonwealth countries and he kept his good form.
Meanwhile, in the qualifiers, Yahiya, unlike Sreeshankar got off the mark slowly. While on his first attempt, he registered a jump of 7.49m. He improved his show with 7.69m on his second attempt, before finishing off with a final attempt of 7.49m. His final effort saw him finish behind Guyana’s Emanuel Archibald and Christopher Mitrevski of Australia.
National record holder Yahiya was added to the squad as a last minute inclusion to the Indian 4x400m relay team.
The Indian athletics squad in Birmingham 2022 is comprising 32 members -- 17 men and 15 women.
India is currently placed seventh on the medals tally.