Manorama Sports Star 2023: High-flying Sreeshankar sets sights on Olympics medal

M Sreeshankar. File photo: AFP

Long jumper M Sreeshankar, one of the six nominees for the Manorama Sports Star Award 2023, possesses the ability to focus on his goal with great care and clarity. Sreeshankar was at the peak of his career in 2023. The 24-year-old Palakkad native became the first Indian track and field athlete to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. He also made it to the finals of the Paris Diamond League and the World Athletics Championships.

A year to remember
Sreeshankar, who is coached by his father and former international triple jumper S Murali, has also won silver medals at the Hangzhou Asian Games and the Asian Athletics Championship in 2023. He achieved his personal best of 8.41m at the inter-state championships in Bhubaneswar last year. Throughout the year, he could maintain his top-10 spot in the World Athletics ranking for men's long jump.

A rare diamond
Sreeshankar began 2023 with an impressive performance at the Paris Diamond League when he finished third in the men's long jump event with an attempt of 8.09m to become the first Keralite and the third Indian athlete to win a medal at the global meet. In July, he clinched silver at the Asian Athletics Championship with a jump of 8.37m and punched his ticket to the Paris Olympics. He also won silver at the Hangzhou Asian Games to become the first Indian male long jumper to win a medal at the continental event in 49 years. In December, he was honoured with the prestigious Arjuna Award.

Olympic dreams
Making it to the Olympics was a dream come true for Sreeshankar, who created an email ID when he switched from sprint events to long jump at the age of 12.

With his past accomplishments and consistent form, Sreeshankar has emerged as one of India's brightest hopes for a medal at the Summer Olympics, scheduled to begin in Paris on July 26.

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