Hat-trick of foul jumps

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In August 2004, Amritpal Singh who had just a few months ago broken T.C. Yohannan’s 30-year-old national record in long jump was omitted from the Indian team for the Athens Olympics citing poor form.

Similar accusations were raised against Renjith Maheswary, national record holder in the triple jump when he prepared for London 2012, but the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist was allowed to compete.

If the Athletics Federation of India had made a wise call by omitting Amritpal, what can be said about Renjith’s inclusion? He was the only participant in the 27-member qualification round to fail all three jumps.

The AFI had given the green signal to Renjith after he jumped 16.45 m (his personal best of 17.07 m set in 2010) in a trial held in Italy on July 9.

Renjith is undoubtedly talented, but has been fumbling in recent events. He had registered a no mark previously in the 2011 world championship held in Daegu and has repeated the same now.

Is he unable to cope with pressure situations? The other day, the much hyped Indian archery team, which failed miserably in the Olympics had requested for psychological assistance to keep them in the groove during tough competitions.

“Fouls happen in jump events and it only means the athlete is trying hard. He seemed to be giving it all in the first two jumps, but then you know sometimes it does not go right,” says Yohannan.

Renjith, Mayookha and Ram Singh Yadav were three athletes who underwent fitness trials ahead of the Olympics as they had not been in the best of form.

All three were granted visas after testing okay. Of the three ‘tested’ athletes, it was Mayookha who first entered the tracks.

Unlike Renjith, she managed to register legitimate jumps, even record her season’s best of 13.77 m though it wasn’t good enough for qualification.

Maybe this doubled the pressure on Renjith as he had to at least produce a season’s best. But what happened is history. Now Ram Singh should be under pressure when he goes into the marathon on Sunday.

But doesn’t pressure and sport go hand in hand? Even the super Bolt has pressure, don’t you agree? In that case Renjith and likewise the AFI are answerable for leaving that 'no mark' in London.

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