Ancy Sojan eyes Asian Games podium after near miss in Bangkok

Ancy Sojan
Ancy Sojan has a personal best of 6.56m. File photo: Manorama

Promising long jumper Ancy Sojan is keen to bounce back after missing out on a podium finish in the recent Asian Athletics Championships held in Bangkok. The 22-year-old resumed her training last week at the Sports Authority of India's Bengaluru centre after returning from the Thailand capital. 

The Thrissur girl, who has risen through the Nattika Sports Academy, finished fourth in Bangkok with a best of 6.45m. India's Shaili Singh won the silver with an effort of 6.54m, a distant second behind Sumire Hata (6.97m). In fact, the Japanese set a new championship record en route to her gold medal-winning performance, while China's Zhong Jiawei (6.46m) pipped Ancy to the bronze medal.

"It was a bit disappointing not to have a medal. But I am not overly worried as I had jumped close to 6.6m on my third attempt. But unfortunately it ended up as a foul," Ancy told Onmanorama over the phone.

Healthy rivalry

Ancy, who has a personal best of 6.56m, and World Under-20 silver medallist Shaili have been part of a rivalry on the pit. The 19-year-old Shaili, who is a protege of former World Championship bronze medallist Anju Bobby George, recorded a personal best of 6.76m in April. However, Ancy feels there is nothing much to choose between the two. "It all comes down to the particular day. Both of us are capable of beating each other."

Ancy Sojan
Ancy Sojan competes in the 2022 Commonwealth Games. File photo: AFP/Ben Stansall

The Asian event was the second major championship for the Keralite after last year's Birmingham Commonwealth Games. There Ancy had failed to qualify for the finals and finished 13th with a best of 6.25m.

"The competition was intense in Birmingham as compared to the Asian meet. The major challenges for a jumper is to understand the wind movement during the competition and take a call. Also you have to understand your body condition," said Ancy.

The Hangzhou Asian Games, scheduled to begin on September 23, is the next big assignment for her. Both Ancy and Shaili went past the qualifying mark of 6.45m at the National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar last month. Ancy won the gold with a best of 6.51m, while Shaili finished a close second (6.49m).

The Keralite is confident of performing well in the Chinese city. "It was a depleted field in Bangkok. I expect the competition to be much stronger in the Asian Games. I think you need to jump around the 6.6-6.7m mark to clinch a medal. I will give my all to end up on the podium," she added.

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