Long jump ace Sreeshankar on track despite tweaks to his plans

The national record holder has been working on his strength and mobility during the self-isolation period within the limits of his house in Kerala.

By Naveen Peter ·

The novel coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent suspension of the sporting events across the world has forced many athletes to re-plan their season going ahead.

One among them is Indian long jump champion Murali Sreeshankar.

The Kerala athlete was striving to qualify for Tokyo 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced various meets, including the Olympic qualifiers, to be cancelled.

However, with the Olympics being postponed by a year and with World Athletics suspending the qualification period, Murali Sreeshankar has come up with some tweaks to his programme as he prepares for the Tokyo Games next year.

“The emphasis (now) is more on strength and mobility since there will be no competition in next four-five months,” said the 21-year-old in an interview with Hindustan Times.

Back home in Palakkad, Kerala following a nation-wide lockdown, Murali Sreeshankar also invested in some equipment to incorporate weight training into his routine within the confines of his house.

“I had some long weight training sessions ranging from two to three hours, thrice a week in the altered schedule,” he elaborated.

“The drills include squats and deadlifts. The focus during a 90 minutes training session in the morning is on general fitness including mobility exercises. All the hard work should help me perform consistently on the outdoor circuit.”

Back under the sun

But with the restrictions relaxed in Kerala over the past few weeks, the national record holder in long jump has switched to outdoor training under the watchful eyes of his father S Murali, a former international triple jumper.

A medical college near his house allows the Indian ace to use their facility for training, something that Murali Sreeshankar is grateful about.

“It felt good when I stepped on the track for the first time in two months. I could feel the spring in my strides but took it easy,” he said.

“I’m lucky to have the facilities opened for me; I can train in isolation. It is just 1.5km from my house.”

With the domestic season set to begin in September, the outdoor training is expected to benefit Murali Sreeshankar as he continues his race towards securing an Olympic berth in the coming months.