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Tokyo Olympics: After the high, a big fall for Sreeshankar? | Tokyo Olympics News – Times of India

July 23, 2021

Long jumper could be dropped from Tokyo squad due to poor performance in trials
NEW DELHI: In what could be a setback for India even before their athletics campaign at the Tokyo Olympics has started, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Thursday contemplated pulling out long jumper Murali Sreeshankar from the Games over fitness issues.
Sources said AFI officials were left “shocked” when Sreeshankar came up with jumps of 7.48m and 7.33m on Wednesday during a fitness trial ahead of the squad’s departure for Tokyo. He had qualified for the Games by crossing the qualification mark of 8.22m in March.
The squad is scheduled to leave for the Games in a couple of days. The AFI selectors are scheduled to meet on Friday morning to decide Sreeshankar’s fate.
Sreeshankar had qualified for the Games with a jump of 8.26m in the Federation Cup in Patiala in March this year. It was his personal best, the earlier being 8.20m. “Everyone who did not participate in the Nationals was asked to give a fitness trial. Sreeshankar ‘s qualification was 8.26m and we were expecting him to come up with at least more than 7.95m or 8m. But he jumped 7.48. His second best was 7.33. These efforts are worse than the ones recorded in the junior Nationals. So we were shocked and disappointed,” sources told TOI.
“After his qualification for the Olympics, he had not jumped at all. Yesterday, the weather was nice and cold. So it’s baffling to see his performance. His best is over two feet shorter than the Olympic qualification mark. When he was asked about it, he did not have an answer for the dip.”
When asked whether Sreeshankar would be boarding the flight to Tokyo, the source said: “If you are not fit, you have to step out. You can’t go there and perform worse than the juniors at the Olympics. You have to keep in mind that this is the Olympic Games and not just some Nationals.”
They said that though some other athletes’ performance at the fitness trial was average, Sreeshankar’s was inexplicable.
When contacted, AFI president Adille Sumariwalla admitted that Sreeshankar’s performance at the trial was “disappointing”. “His fate will be decided only by the selection committee. The members are Arjuna awardees and Olympians. They are the best ones to take a call,” added Sumariwalla.

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