World Athletics Championships: Murali Sreeshankar finishes 7th in long jump finals

Murali Sreeshankar in action (File photo). MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

Long jumper Murali Sreeshankar finished seventh in the finals with his best effort of 7.96m on day two of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, USA on Sunday.

The first Indian male athlete to qualify for the long jump finals in the World Championships, Sreeshankar's performance in the final was below his season's and personal best of 8.36m. Incidentally, China's Jianan Wang won the gold with a jump of 8.36m as well.

The Indian had three legal jumps -- the opening jump of 7.96m, fourth round effort of 7.89m and last attempt of 7.83m. The other three tries were fouls. The 23-year-old must be disappointed as he could not cross the 8m mark in six attempts. He has been a consistent performer this season having jumped 8.17m, 8.36m, 8.31m and 8.23m since March and going into the World Championships.

He had qualified for the finals with a best jump of exactly 8m in the qualification round on Saturday, finishing second in Group B and seventh overall. Sreeshankar had gone into the championships in the joint second spot in the season's top list on the basis of his national record 8.36m jump.

Jianan Wang won the gold with a sensational final round jump of 8.36m while Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece, who was leading till the penultimate round, won the silver with a best effort of 8.30m. Season leader Simon Ehammer (8.16m) of Switzerland took the bronze.

His father and coach S Murali said it was sheer bad luck that Sreeshankar could not at least jump more than 8.16m, which would have given him a bronze. "Sreeshankar was confident to do well today but it was sheer bad luck. Jumping more than 8.16m was within his reach and he has done many times this season," Murali told PTI.

"The third jump turned out to be a foul by just 3mm and had it been a legal one, Sreeshankar would have crossed at least 8.16m and won a medal. But we have to look ahead with this World Championships experience and do well in the Commonwealth Games."

In other events involving Indians, Parul Chaudhary ran her personal best of 9:38.09 in women's 3000m steeplechase to finish 12th in heat number two to miss out on the finals. She finished 31st overall. The top three finishers and the next six fastest across the three heats qualify for the finals. Chaudhary's earlier personal best was the 9:38.29 she had clocked during the Indian Grand Prix series in Thiruvanthapuram in March.

In men's 400m hurdles, Madari Palliyalil Jabir also failed to advance to the semifinals after finishing seventh and last in heat number two with a time of 50.76s. He finished 31st overall across five heats.

The top four finishers and the next four fastest across the five heats qualify for the semifinals. He recorded a season's best of 49.76s while winning the gold at the National Inter-State Championships last month. He has a personal best of 49.13s.