Lighter season, new runup: Sreeshankar’s formula for Paris success - Hindustan Times
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Lighter season, new runup: Sreeshankar’s formula for Paris success

ByAvishek Roy
Mar 22, 2024 11:31 PM IST

Father and coach S Murali says they are planning to try a running start instead of a static one keeping in mind one big jump in Paris

Murali Sreeshankar was on travel mode for most of last season. He was crisscrossing continents trying to keep up with the busy schedule of competition and training he had planned for himself. That meant frequent change of time zones, acclimatising to different conditions and quickly adapting to the environment around him.

Murali Sreeshankar(PTI)
Murali Sreeshankar(PTI)

In seven months starting from April, he competed in 10 events and had training stints in Texas Tech University in the US and then in Greece. Despite the rigorous schedule, Sreeshankar came up with some noteworthy performances, be it leaping to his personal best of 8.41m in Bhubaneshwar Inter-State Championships to winning silver at the Asian Athletics Championships (8.37m) and at the Asian Games (8.19m). By the end of the season, Sreeshankar was drained.

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This season Sreeshankar has decided to keep himself light and focus all his energy towards the Paris Olympics. He will start the season late and there will be less travel and competition.

"We are starting a little late this year. He had a minor knee injury last season and he had to compete in all the events with it. So, he took a rest and did his rehab. We have finished our general preparation and now we will begin our technical training," said Sreeshankar’s father and coach S Murali.

Sreeshankar has spent the off season at his hometown in Palakkad and will continue his training there before he opens his season at the Shanghai Diamond League on April 27. He will then compete in Doha Diamond League on May 10 and after that he will train in Cyprus for around 40 days before coming back for the Inter-state competition from June 27-30. In between, he is likely to take part in one or two competitions in Europe.

"Last year we started early. There was a lot of competition and travelling and he was tired after the Asian Games. This year he will have to peak only for the Paris Olympics. Diamond League and other events will be training competitions. Since he has qualified much earlier, it has put us at ease. We have planned our programme in a way so as to get the best in Paris," Murali said. "Training conditions are very good here now. We have almost all the facilities here. All over Europe it is cold right now."

Besides the big change in his travel plans, Sreeshankar will be looking to tweak his runup. Sreeshankar starts his runup from a static position, rocks back a bit before beginning his run. He will now attempt a running start.

"It will help him gain more speed on the runway. The only thing is that he has to convert it into distance. When he was very young he used to do that technique, for the sake of consistency he changed that to the standing approach. But if you are able to pick this approach, the least jump will be around 8.30m. Most long jumpers today have a running start, including Miltiadis Tentoglou (Tokyo Olympic champion)."

Sreeshankar tried this technique last year at the start of the season but went back to his tried and tested static start routine. "If you want to go big at the Olympics you have to do something extraordinary. The target is to go beyond the 8.50m mark and for that we have to do something different. That's the reason we are trying to bring this change in his runup."

There will not be much change in the distance he will have to cover in the runaway. "He is used to doing 19 strides. We are planning to cut it down to 17 with the running approach (with addition of two to three running strides). So, it will be a 46 to 47m approach run."

Last season, he shortened his runup to less than 45m, taking shorter steps and also worked on his speed in the last 10m to get maximum acceleration at the time of takeoff. He has good speed. The only thing is that he is not able to use that speed to maximize the distance. If he gets it right, he will get a big jump. It should come at the Paris Olympics."

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