Sreeshankar, who is training with his father-coach S Murali (former triple jump athlete) at the Government Medical College ground in Palakkad, Kerala, said that his realistic target would be to jump between 8.35m and 8.40m.
M Sreeshankar during the IAAF World Athletics Championships at Doha in 2019. Pic/Getty Images
Indian long jumper M Sreeshankar, 22, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, is currently juggling between mathematics and his Tokyo Olympics preparations.
Sreeshankar, who is training with his father-coach S Murali (former triple jump athlete) at the Government Medical College ground in Palakkad, Kerala, said that his realistic target would be to jump between 8.35m and 8.40m. “That’s the realistic distance my dad has figured out for me. I am improving my performance day by day; the parameters are getting better and I am getting closer to that big target,” Sreeshankar said in reply to a question from Sunday mid-day during a virtual media interaction facilitated by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Saturday.
American Jeff Henderson (8.38m) claimed gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio while Luvo Manyonga (South Africa, 8.37m) and Greg Rutherford (Great Britain, 8.29m) took the silver and bronze respectively.
Sreeshankar earned his Olympics qualification by registering a national record 8.26m jump at the Federation Cup in Patiala last March. He is hopeful of being part of some competitions in Asia and Europe before the July 23-August 8, 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Maths playing a crucial role
There are maths problems to be solved but they do play a role in him training better. “The insight into mathematics has also helped me a lot in training sessions because jumping is all about measurements,” he said, displaying the book, Complex Analysis. “I am having a very tough time with this [the book]. My exams are one month away and I don’t know what to do with this book. I am preparing alone because I couldn’t attend classes due to my training schedule and competitions, but I am able to manage,” remarked Sreeshankar.
Probably, mathematics keeps him mentally alert and it’s a subject he loves; always secured full marks in his earlier academic challenges. “The mental aspect is a decisive factor; there is mental pressure as well. But I am finding a way to perform well in highly competitive events. I have to be mentally strong to be at my best in Tokyo,” Sreeshankar signed off.