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2016: National record, World Under-20 No. 2
Delhi Teen Shatters Senior Men's Record In Juniors' Event
Seventeen-yearold Tejaswin Shankar rose to a new high on Thursday , the opening day's of the National Junior Athletics meet here at the Nehru stadium. The boy from Delhi not only erased the national and meet records in the Under-18 high jump, but also shattered the existing Indian men's senior national record in the meet for junior athletes. Tejaswin cleared 2.26m in his second attempt
Tejaswin, a 12th standard student of Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Lodhi Road, began his attempts only after his rivals, including silver medallist Anandhu KS (2.04m) of Kerala and bronze medallist Nishant of Haryana (2.02), had completed their tries. Coached by his school's physical education teacher Sunil Kumar for the past five years and inspired by YouTube clips of leading high jumpers, Tejaswin began by clearing 2.06m and then sailed over 2.12, 2.18 and 2.21m without much fuss to go past the junior record. The crowd got excited and styarted cheering Tejaswin as he went for the national record. He cleared 2.24 in his second attempt and raised the bar to 2.26m. After a failed try, he cleared the height on his second attempt to eclipse the 12-year-old record.
Tejaswin, who has roots in Madurai, wasn't content yet and had a go at 2.28m but was not successful. “I made up for missing the World Junior Meet in Poland earlier this year. I met with a freak accident while riding pillion with my friend on a scooter just before the squad was finalised,“ he said, showing the injury mark on the right side of his waist.
“My record effort will make me to World No. 2 in the Under-20 category , “ said the tearyeyed boy , whose mother Laxmi is a Supreme Court lawyer. His father, a businessman, had passed away , four years before, in 2012.
He is a die-hard Virender Sehwag fan. Has a deep passion for cricket and wanted to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and earn some fast bucks. He also loves to get his body inked – presently he is sporting a flashy tattoo on both his biceps which reads “The Beast Never Stops”.
But the 19-year-old boy from Saket (Delhi), Tejaswin Shankar, chose to become a high jumper and try his luck in athletics instead. Shankar would not regret his decision as Wednesday the watershed moment of his nascent high-jump career.
The 6 foot 4 inches athlete rewrote the history books with an effort of 2.28m to qualify for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on the third day of competitions at the Federation Cup senior national athletics championships. En route his gold medal effort, Shankar also broke his own national record of 2.26m, set in Coimbatore in November 2016 and the meet record of 2.21m by Nikhil C in 2014.
Shankar looked to go even higher, setting the bar at 2.31m, but failed in all his three attempts despite coming very close to clearing it in the first attempt. By that time, he had breached the CWG qualification mark of 2.25m comfortably. Had Shankar cleared the 2.31m mark, it would have been a truly world-class performance by him. The Rio Olympics bronze medal in the men’s high-jump was decided at 2.33m.
Another high jumper, Haryana’s Siddharth Yadav, also cleared the qualification mark with an effort of 2.25m and there are good chances that both the athletes could be named in India’s CWG athletics contingent. In the women’s 10,000m event, Tamil Nadu’s L Suriya scorched the track with a timing of 32:23.96s to qualify for the CWG by breaching the qualification mark of 32:30.00s.
“This year is very important. My target would obviously be to win medals at both the CWG and Asian Games. It’s a long season ahead with the college level competitions in the USA starting.
“I will compete in the US Collegiate events and look to earn the invitation for the Diamond League,” said Shankar, who is enrolled in the four-year undergraduate programme at Kansas State University. He is training under coach Cliff Rovelto at the university.