I consider I’m a giant work in progress, says Tejaswin Shankar

Reaching private bests in three decathlon occasions, excessive bounce (2.20m), pole vault (4m) and javelin (52.32), in draining situations to attain 7,576 factors on the 62nd Nationwide inter-State athletics championship in Bhubaneswar and qualify for the Asian Video games spoke rather a lot about Tejaswin Shankar’s potential in inarguably the hardest self-discipline in athletics.

Attempting to make a mark within the grueling multi-discipline sport, Tejaswin, who needs to be the ‘torch-bearer of decathlon’ within the nation, missed out on Bharatinder Singh’s 2011 Nationwide report of seven,658 by 10 factors to expertise a so-near-yet-so-far second on the Jim Click on shootout competitors in Arizona, the USA, in April.

Tejaswin wished to attain it in his first decathlon outing within the nation throughout the inter-State meet, however in testing situations he well selected to accept the instant goal of qualifying for the Asian Video games. He additionally put all doubts to relaxation about his functionality of competing properly within the Asian championships in Bangkok, which may also be scorching and humid, subsequent month.

The massive takeaway for Tejaswin’s inter-State efficiency was that he rose to the problem after getting a less-than-satisfactory outcome on the primary day of his competitors. He pushed himself to win the title.

“Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. I am a solid day one guy. Day one events are all well-suited for me and I score a lot of points but that’s where I lacked in this meet which was a new challenge for me. I have not performed badly on day one before. On day two, all my weak events are there. I usually play catch up on day two events after performing well on day one. That’s why I was really happy that I was able to step up and pull my day two score,” stated Tejaswin.

No surprise that Tejaswin, the Commonwealth Video games bronze medallist who specialises in excessive bounce and has a private finest of two.29m, valued his excessive bounce exhibiting on the Kalinga Stadium because it boosted him on a below-par day one.

“There are so many things going on. So personal best in a dedicated event is different, PB in decathlon is different.”

Like a golfer remembering minute particulars of his sport on each gap, Tejaswin passionately spoke about his 10 occasions, particularly pole vault and javelin on the second day.

“Pole vault was one where I felt I needed to do something. Kudos to Siva (Subramani) bhaiya. He was my coach at the vault, he was helping me from the sidelines. Because it’s one of the most technical events not just because there’s an extra implement outside of your body, which is the pole. To know the adjustments between high jump and pole vault, you need to understand it like a physics problem. There were some minor adjustments which I needed to do (which I did), thanks to Siva. To jump 4m here was an outright personal best for me.

“Pole vault really gave me the motivation that something special can happen today. I was expecting 47-48m in javelin because my best was 46.84m. Throwing 49m in my first attempt, then 51m and 52m in my last attempts gave me a good cushion going into the (last event) 1500m.”

Tejaswin was reconciled to the truth that he couldn’t go for the Nationwide report. “I can still make the NR in future. It’s best to break the NR by over 100 points instead of just by 10 points.”

The amiable 24-year-old, who spent the previous couple of years within the USA, sought Military coach and former Nationwide record-holder Kulwinder Singh’s inputs throughout the competitors and gained over fellow-athletes to get the much-needed push from them.

“Tejaswin is a gifted athlete. He is the bahubali (strongman) of Indian athletics. After Bhartinder Singh, he is the second Indian athlete to cross 7500 points and has the potential to score 8000-plus points and even win an Olympic medal,” stated Kulwinder, who broke a 33-year-old Nationwide report in 2000 and coached Bhartinder.

“His competitions in the USA and here are different. Over there, because of the weather, they begin the competition during the afternoon and end it by the evening. Here, since the events were split between morning and evening sessions, the recovery time was less.”

Kulwinder stated Tejaswin wanted to appropriate some technical faults. “It’s not easy to perfect the technical side in 10 events as one event’s techniques creep into another.”

“I believe I am a big work in progress with so many opportunities to improve,” agreed Tejaswin.

The affable Delhi lad, who overcame a bleeding nostril and an unstable ankle to take the title, imported the tradition of camaraderie amongst fellow-decathletes from the USA to India and devoted his win to his co-competitors. His posing for images with all opponents, after taking off their shirts, within the Arizona and the Kalinga Stadium has a putting resemblance.

“In the end, we end up creating camaraderie among us. Paseene mein bhi hum hug karte hai (We hug each other through all the sweat). On the first day, we didn’t know each other’s names, but now we have forged (such) a friendship that someone ruined his own race so that I can qualify. That’s the spirit of decathlon. That’s why everybody should tune in and watch decathlon.

“If I could, I would break the medal into 18 equal pieces and give it to them. I hope, at least, I could have a picture with them and I hope you (media) use that picture and not use mine alone,” stated Tejaswin, dedicating his gold to his co-competitors.

Kulwinder is impressed with Tejaswin’s stamina. “Look at that picture of all the athletes, his physique is as good as that of one-and-a-half of his fellow-athletes. If he wants to train with us at the Army Sports Institute (ASI), Pune, he is most welcome. After all, the Indian Army wants to win medals for the country,” stated Kulwinder.

As Tajaswin gears up for the upcoming large occasions, together with the Asian Video games, athletics lovers will keenly monitor the progress of this spirited athlete.

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