The Indian triple jumper explained how the postponement of the Olympics was a blessing in disguise for him.
Indian triple jumper Arpinder Singh is one of the few athletes to have been aided by the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.
The first-ever Indian to win a Continental Cup medal after bagging bronze in the Czech Republic in 2018, Arpinder Singh feels that the Olympics being pushed back by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be beneficial to his qualification hopes for Tokyo.
“This postponement is a kind of blessing for me. I felt I wasn't ready for the Federation Cup in April,” Arpinder Singh told Sportstar. “I felt I would be ready only by the time of the inter-State meet (June-end in Bengaluru). So, this one year's delay in the Olympics will help me a lot.”
Qualifying for the triple jump at the Olympics requires athletes to meet the standard 17.14m mark. Arpinder Singh had proven that he can cross that mark with a 17.17m jump – his personal best – at the Lucknow inter-State Nationals in 2014.
However, the triple jumper from Amritsar hasn’t managed to better that record ever since. In fact, the next time Arpinder Singh crossed the 17m mark happened at the 2018 Guwahati inter-State Nationals.
He headed into the Guwahati inter-State Nationals on the back of winning gold with a 16.77m jump at the Jakarta Asian Games and believes that the extra time he now has to qualify for Tokyo will allow him to work on the changes he has made to his technique.
“Now, I've got a lot of extra time to try out the changes I had made in my technique. I was a bit surprised (because) people (initially) told me that it was not possible to have it next year because of the Olympics four-year cycle,” Arpinder Singh admitted.
“We've never had a situation like this before, this experience is rather new to me. But I'm happy because I know my form will be good by the time of the inter-State,” he added.
Besides the postponement of the Olympics, teaming up with coach PB Jaikumar in Thiruvananthapuram comes as another boost to Arpinder Singh’s preparations.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist became the first Indian in 48 years to win gold in triple jump at the Asian Games under PB Jaikumar.
And after five training bases, five different coaches and a troubled season, Arpinder Singh felt that returning to PB Jaikumar for guidance would be his best course of action.
"I was not getting good results. Something was not clicking. The jump wasn't coming that good. So, I decided to train with Jaikumar again. That's not to pick faults with Antony's (Yaich) method. Jaikumar prefers the Russian technique of focus on jumps, while Anthony’s formula is speed,” the 27-year-old told the Times of India.
Whether a change in coach pays dividends can only be seen once sporting activities across the globe resumes.
However, with PB Jaikumar as his coach, he can take confidence from the duo's past track record while working together.