High jumper Tejaswin Shankar wins NCAA title, to skip Asian Games 2018
Tejaswin Shankar, who set a national record of 2.29m at Texas in April, cleared 2.24m to win the competition at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Friday.Updated: Jun 09, 2018 21:00 IST
India’s 19-year-old high jumper Tejaswin Shankar won the NCAA title on Friday, emulating his compatriots who have won in the US inter-university competition, usually the stepping stone to international success.
The promising Delhi athlete, who set a national record of 2.29m at Texas in April, cleared 2.24m to win the competition at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Friday.
Shankar, on an athletic scholarship to Kansas State University and studying business administration, is the third Indian track and field athlete to win an NCAA title. Triple jumper Mohinder Singh Gill (1969-1971) and discus thrower Vikas Gowda (2006) won title in NCAA, considered the springboard for the US National Championships.
In tennis players too have made a mark. Somdev Devvarman won back to back NCAA titles in 2007-8 while Mahesh Bhupathi was a doubles champion representing University of Mississipi.
Shankar started at a modest 2.08m and by the time he progressed to 2.21m, there were only four jumpers left. He eventually won by clearing 2.24m in his third attempt. He was unsuccessful in his bid to clear 2.30m.
However, the youngster has said he will not make an attempt to qualify for the Jakarta Asian Games in August-September as he needs a break.
After his NCAA triumph, he plans to take a short break. “I was really looking forward to this, so I’ll probably go to Disneyland. I’ll probably go there and spend a couple of weeks and then get back to my summer training. I really want to put out a big mark next year, so that I can be an outright winner next year,” he was quoted as saying by the Kansas State media.
Shankar, who was sixth in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April after failing to clear 2.27m, plans to skip the June 26-29 Inter-State Athletics Championship at Guwahati, which is the last qualifying event for the Asiad, to avoid burn out.
“As I started my competitive season in December, I do not want to strain too much in my first year of competition at a higher level. I plan to strike a balance between training and academics,” he said before his NCAA competition.