BIRMINGHAM, Aug 4: Indian high jumper Tejaswin Shankar on Thursday said he has not been able to perform to his full potential owing to chronic tendonitis and it’s now a “certainty” that he will compete in decathlon at next year’s Asian Games.
The problem, however, could not come in his way of winning the country its first-ever medal — a bronze — in high jump at the Commonwealth Games here.
“Because with constant tendonitis on my knee, I have not been able to jump as much as I would like to. But I have been able to supplement my high jump training by doing a lot of long jump activities or doing hurdles,” the 23-year-old said.
Tejaswin said he wants to compete in decathlon at next year’s Asian Games.
“That is a certainty. I want to compete in decathlon at the Asian Games. That is what I am going to do, going forward,” Tejaswin said.
Decathlon is a competition in which athletes participate in 10 sporting events — 100m, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400m, 110m hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and 1500m — over two days.
“Even if I do not compete at decathlon, I want to continue training in decathlon because it really works for me.”
The road to the CWG medal was fraught with obstacles for Tejaswin as the NCAA athlete and student of Kansas University approached the court after his name didn’t feature in the list of athletes included in India’s contingent.
Tejaswin won the high jump title in the USA in June this year with a jump of 2.27m and achieved the qualification standard for CWG. But he didn’t find his name in the list of Indian contingent as he didn’t take part in the senior national inter-state athletics championships in India.
He knocked on the Delhi High Court’s door, and earned a favourable verdict.
After winning the medal, Tejaswin said that he will be seeking exemption from participating in national events well in advance only if the rule applies to all other athletes.
“If the policy applies to everybody, then everybody has to abide. However, if it is done selectively (to a few athletes), then we have to find an alternative like this time,” Tejaswin said.
“Hopefully, it will include everybody. If that is the case, then of course, I will do that. In my case, the problem was that I was competing in the collegiate circuit, and most importantly, I was a student there. You cannot apply for leaves as per your wishes.
“That turned out to be a big problem for me. I always wanted to represent India. And for that to happen, I had to compete at the Nationals. But, at the same time, I had to go to school. Two things cannot happen at the same time. So, I had to cut some corners,” he added.
Tejaswin, however, said he is hopeful that such a situation would not arise again since he has finished his studies in the US.
“Frankly, that issue is not likely to be repeated as I am done with my studies. So, hopefully, we can put that behind and just move forward,” he said.
Tejaswin admitted that the thought of missing the Games did cross his mind.
“I had that thought for many days. However, once I got here, I knew what I had to do and I was able to do it. I am happy about it,” Tejaswin said.
“Everything happened at a rapid pace. So, at that point, I did not have any reasons to believe that I was not going to participate. So, once things started ticking off, I was excited that I was going to come here,” he added.
The bronze medal, according to Tejaswin, is a big achievement, and he was not really aiming to touch his personal best of 2.29m. He won the medal with a jump of 2.22 metres.
“In championships, it is less about personal best and more about medals, considering the fact that other situation play a big role.
“Yesterday, because of the luck, there were a bit of distractions in high jump, as there were lot of other events going on simultaneously,” Tejaswin pointed out.
“There were some good guys out there who jumped over 2.30m this season. So, for them to jump around 2.25m convinced me that the weather and the wind had something to do with it,” he added.
Despite finishing his studies, Tejaswin said he is planning to go back to the US in September, as he has secured a full-time job there.
“With a five-year programme in the US, you get an extra year which you can use for getting work experience. I was able to get a full-time offer with Deloitte in Kansas City as an accountant. So, I will work with them, starting September,” Tejaswin said.
“In the meantime, I will try to find some competitions and higher-ranked meets and get the valuable points and end my season. But, the main goal would be to go back to the US and start working,” he added. (PTI)