Manorama Sports Star 2022: Abdulla Aboobacker leaps his way into history

Abdulla Aboobacker
Abdulla Aboobacker in action at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. File photo: AFP/ Christian Petersen

Triple jumper Abdulla Aboobacker, one of the six nominees for the Manorama Sports Star Award 2022, is an epitome of resilience. He has fought back from injuries, many of them serious in nature, during his 11-year sporting career. 

He has been sidelined for several years with multiple injuries to his knee, ankle and heel. Ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, he suffered a foot injury, but despite being under severe pain, he took part in the competition and won a historic silver. 

While his friend Eldhose Paul produced his best effort of 17.03 metres in his third attempt, Abdulla cleared 17.02m, which he managed in his fifth attempt. The duo registered a first for India when they took the first two positions in the triple jump.

A quick-learner

Before concentrating on Triple jump, Abdulla, who hails from Valayam near Nadapuram in Kozhikode district, used to take part in different track and field events including sprint, high jump, long jump, and hurdles. 

He switched to triple jump and started undergoing scientific training in the discipline only after he joined Kalladi HSS at Kumaramputhur in Palakkad as a Class IX student. In a year, he won gold medals at state and national-level championships and was hailed as the next superstar in triple jump from Kerala. 

In 2015, Abdulla emerged national junior champion, but it was when he started confronting injuries. In the meantime, in 2017, he was offered a job under the sports quota by the Indian Air Force.

Jumping to glory

Abdulla was at the peak of his career in the year 2022. In May, he secured gold at the Indian Grand Prix held in Bhubaneswar by covering a distance of 17.19m. It was the best performance by an Indian triple jumper after Renjith Maheswary's effort of 17.3m. 

The stupendous jump also ended Abdhulla's long wait for a national-level gold medal in the senior category. In the National Senior Athletic Championships held in Chennai, he breached the coveted 17-metre mark once again and grabbed silver with an effort of 17.14m.    

At the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, a medal looked out of reach for Abdulla at the end of the fourth round. However, in his fifth attempt, he sailed to a 17.02-m leap to finish second. During the process, he also became the only Indian to have crossed the 17-metre mark thrice.

Looking to leap forward

The 27-year-old  Abdhulla's recent performances at national and international events suggest that his best is yet to come. With the Asian Games and the World Athletics Championships slated to be held this year, expectations from Abdulla are high. Currently, he is fine-tuning his skills at the national camp in Bengaluru to fulfil those expectations and make the country proud once again.

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