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Triple jump’s band of brothers dares to dream

Eldhose Paul, Abdulla Aboobacker, Praveen Chithravel and Karthik Unnikrishnan have raised their degree and given Indian athletics new hope. With better assist and worldwide publicity, they’ll have the platform to indicate that the CWG success wasn’t a one-off 

Eldhose Paul, Abdulla Aboobacker, Praveen Chithravel and Karthik Unnikrishnan have raised their degree and given Indian athletics new hope. With better assist and worldwide publicity, they’ll have the platform to indicate that the CWG success wasn’t a one-off 

Eldhose Paul was once an honest cricketer. A quick-bowler, he performed college-level tournaments.

“At any time when I obtained time after my athletics exercises, I used to play cricket for my faculty staff, I’ve performed for MA Faculty [at Kothamangalam, Ernakulam] in MG College occasions too,” says the 25-year-old.

“However there was no person to information me about methods to go about cricket, to do correct exercises. And cricket is an costly sport.”

Maybe it’s for the very best that Paul didn’t get swept away by the cricket wave. For the younger man has made historical past in one other sport, the triple leap.

Paul completed ninth on the World Athletics Championships in Oregon (USA) in late July and final month turned the primary Indian triple jumper to win the Commonwealth Video games gold, in Birmingham. The enjoyment was doubled, together with his very constant training-mate Abdulla Aboobacker taking silver. Praveen Chithravel missed the bronze by 4 centimetres.

A uncommon factor

The 17m in triple leap was once a uncommon factor in Indian athletics. Olympian Renjith Maheswary first entered the elite circle with 17.04m in June 2007 in Guwahati. And earlier than this 12 months, Asian Video games gold medallist Arpinder Singh was the final to cross 17m with 17.09 in 2018.

And when former Asian champion Maheswary jumped 17.30m in 2016 (he was fourth on the planet checklist that 12 months) for a brand new Nationwide file in Bengaluru, a month earlier than the Rio Olympics, many rubbed their eyes in disbelief.

However 2022 has raised triple leap in India as by no means earlier than. In a two-month interval, Might and June, three jumpers — Kerala’s Aboobacker (17.19m) and Karthik Unnikrishnan (17.10) and Tamil Nadu’s Chithravel (17.18) — breached 17m and grabbed three of the highest 5 rungs within the Indian all-time jumpers’ checklist. And Paul is on the sting of the landmark, in sixth spot with 16.99m.

How did this occur?

“Primarily, it’s teamwork. Three of us [Paul, Aboobacker and Unnikrishnan] do our exercises collectively. All of us are in the identical efficiency vary, so there’s a robust aggressive spirit,” says Paul, who regardless of not having formally crossed 17m (the 17.03 that fetched him the Commonwealth Video games gold was wind-aided, +3.1 wind), coated himself in glory this 12 months.

“We’re virtually like brothers, we assist one another nicely and even assist out throughout competitions. So, on daily basis there’s some enchancment. If we had been coaching elsewhere, maybe India wouldn’t have gotten such performances from us. And we prepare beneath the identical coach M. Harikrishnan [at the national camp in Bengaluru; former two-time Worlds silver medallist Yoandri Betanzos of Cuba coaches Chithravel at JSW’s Inspire Institute of Sport, Ballari].”

Why have the triple jumpers responded so nicely to Harikrishnan’s strategies?

“One, my exercises are appropriate for his or her physique, subsequent… their religion within the coach, they blindly imagine in me. And third is difficult work,” says Harikrishnan, who was not despatched for the World Championships however coached them on-line round midnight on daily basis from the nationwide camp.

“I’m very fortunate to have college students like them. And I’ve one other teenager, Gailey Venister from Tamil Nadu, who can also be very promising.”

Like 2021, which had the Tokyo Olympics, and this 12 months (Worlds and CWG), 2023 too shall be very busy, with the Worlds once more in Budapest (August), the Asian Video games in Hangzhou (Sept-Oct) and the Asian Championships (likely in Pattaya, July).

With so many majors lined up, Paul feels Maheswary’s Nationwide file of 17.30m will fall.

Below menace

“I’m certain one in every of us will break the Nationwide file and the very best leap subsequent 12 months may very well be round 17.40m. The World Championships entry customary (17.20m) is an achievable goal. The final two main competitions have given me a giant increase for subsequent season. Greater than happiness, the arrogance that massive medals deliver matter extra,” says Paul, who was raised by his grandmother in Ramamangalam, a village close to Piravom in Ernakulam District, from the age of 4 after his mom’s dying.

Harikrishnan feels all three are able to attaining 17.40m subsequent 12 months. “However there must be no accidents,” says the assistant nationwide coach, who like Aboobacker — this 12 months’s India No. 1 — is with the Indian Air Drive.

“For Eldhose, it should all depend upon the technical corrections I’m engaged on. There was an issue together with his working fashion, he had a throwing-type working fashion, we modified that. With that, his hop, rebound and ‘plant’ turned set. I’ll know the way a lot every one can enhance as soon as the main corrections are finished.”

Paul — earlier coached by T.P. Ouseph, who guided former Worlds lengthy leap bronze medallist Anju Bobby George in her early years — is a fast learner.

“He’s fast at greedy issues. And Abdulla will get nervous quick however in the event you encourage him, he’ll prepare shortly. Bodily and mentally, every one is a unique make. Karthik has only a motivation downside however he’s very mature,” says Harikrishnan.

“Karthik can do so much higher, he ought to have crossed 17.10 a lot earlier. In my plan, he must be leaping 17.35 to 17.40 in 2023. And in 2024, round 17.55 to 17.60.”

And Harikrishnan explains the trick that helped Aboobacker seize the silver in Birmingham.

“I couldn’t go for the Commonwealth Video games and once I noticed that Abdulla was fourth after 4 jumps, I realised he was in a type of silent mode. I knew I needed to get him labored as much as produce a very good leap.

“I instructed [long jumper Muhammed] Anees to hold his cell and put it on loudspeaker mode in order that he might hear it. I instructed Abdulla, ‘Abdu think about you’re a mad man…leap like a mad man, suppose you’re a vattan, a pranthan (mad man). Don’t take into consideration your method. And have your complete stadium in your grip. Clap and solely if you really feel motivated, do the leap.’ And he did it!” says the coach.


Regardless of the historic Birmingham efficiency, there’s a sense of unease among the many triple jumpers. Six months in the past, the Athletics Federation of India introduced in Russian Denis Kapustin, the 2000 Sydney Olympics bronze medallist, as the top coach for horizontal jumps. The jumpers are nervous in regards to the transition when the camp resumes for subsequent 12 months.

“Each Kapustin and Harikrishnan ought to determine the exercises collectively, if there’s a sudden change our physique will take a while to adapt. Progressively, each their exercises ought to merge…I believe that would be the plan going ahead,” says Paul.

The potential logistical points for Kapustin, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are additionally one thing that should be thought-about. The triple jumpers had been with no coach on the Worlds and CWG as Kapustin couldn’t get visas and there’s a feeling it might bother them subsequent 12 months too.

Paul feels that competing in Europe subsequent 12 months will give the triple jumpers a giant increase.

“The local weather there’s completely different, we should always get used to it…as an alternative of doing competitions right here, we must be competing in European meets and attempt to peak for the majors via these competitions,” he says.

“We also needs to attempt to qualify for the Worlds from overseas competitions and in case you are seeking to achieve rating factors, the Indian meets supply us only a few factors. The extra we compete overseas, the higher will probably be in main meets.

“In India, we’re pressured to peak in home competitors and once we journey overseas, we go down.”

Just like the lengthy jumpers, the triple jumpers have supplied Indian athletics new hope. It’s time to supply them extra assist and see what they’re able to doing.



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