Top Indian long jumper Murali Sreeshankar secured a creditable third place in the Paris Diamond League with a jump of 8.09m, his maiden top-three finish in the prestigious one-day meeting series. Sreeshankar also became the only third Indian to finish in top-three of a Diamond League after Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and former discus thrower Vikas Gowda. Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sreeshankar achieved his best jump of the day in his third attempt on Friday night.
His 8.09m effort was below his season’s best of 8.18m, which he recorded while winning gold in an event in Greece last month. The 24-year-old has a personal best of 8.36m that came last year.
The competitors in the men’s long jump event faced head wind most of the time.
Olympic champion and world number one Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece took the top spot with his fifth round jump of 8.13m, just 4cm better than Sreeshankar.
Switzerland’s World Championships bronze medallist Simon Ehammer finished second with his fourth round jump of 8.11m.
Sreeshankar’s series at the Charlety Stadium here was 7.79m, 7.94m, foul, 7.99m and foul.
He was leading after the third round before Ehammer and Tentoglou went ahead.
The Indian however finished ahead of Cuba’s Olympic bronze medallist Maykel Masso (sixth place with 7.83m) and Sweden’s World No. 4 Thobias Montler (seventh with 7.82m) to join the exclusive three-member DL club.
Olympic champion Chopra is the reigning Diamond League champion in javelin throw after winning the Finals in Zurich last September.
He has also finished on top in Lausanne and second in Stockholm last year before winning the season-opening leg in Doha last month.
Gowda had finished second twice — in New York in 2012 and in Doha in 2014 — and third on two occasions — Shanghai and Eugene in 2015.
Medals are not awarded to individual Diamond League Meetings.
This was Sreeshankar’s second foray in the Diamond League Meeting series.
He had finished sixth the Monaco leg last year.
Sreeshankar grabbed six qualification points for the Diamond League Finals of the season to be held in Eugene, USA, in September.
He will also get valuable ranking points in his bid to qualify for the World Championships to be held in Budapest, Hungary, in August.
Sreeshankar, who has been training in Greece for the last one month, is yet to achieve the World Championships automatic entry standard of 8.25m and the deadline is July 30.
He had recorded an 8.29m jump in the USA in April but that came with a +3.1m/s wind assistance which is above the permissible limit of +2m/s.
However, he can still qualify through the world ranking route as he is on 20th spot in the Road to Budapest rankings, which will be the basis to pick 36 competitors for the showpiece.
Compatriot Jeswin Aldrin, who is currently second in the season’s top list prepared by World Athletics, has already qualified for the World Championships with his 8.42m national record-breaking effort at the Indian Open Jumps Competition at Bellary, Karnataka, in March.
Sreeshankar is set to compete in the National Inter-State Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar from June 15-19.
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