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17 Oct 2021, Edition - 2287, Sunday

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Coimbatore

The hard work of other athletic champions inspire me, Tejaswin Shankar

Harsha V.H

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I track today’s performance to compare with yesterday’s and set goals for tomorrow, Tejaswin Shankar

Tejaswin Shankar created a national record of 2.26m in high jump on Thursday, breaking the 12 year senior national record of Harishankar Roy (2.25), at the 32nd Junior National Championship held in Coimbatore. He represented Delhi in the ‘under- 18’ category.

In a chat with Covai Post, the 17-year-old talks about his achievements and interests.

What were your biggest achievements in the run-up to setting the 2.26m high jump national record?

I won gold medals in the World School Games in June and the Commonwealth Youth Games in September. In September, I also won a gold in the Open National Championship.

Did you always want to become an athlete?

No, I always wanted to play cricket. In fact, I was practicing to become a fast bowler. In 2013, my PE teacher, Sunil Kumar, told me to focus on athletics as he thought I had the potential to perform well. Initially, I was not keen to switch, but eventually I started taking an interest in high jump.

What do you currently do in your training that is key to your success?

I spend most of the time running on track. In fact, I can now run 100m in 11 seconds. I lift weights three times a week and I practice high jump once a week. To perform well, I need to build core strength and have strong legs.

Who inspires you?

I get inspired by watching youtube videos, which show the stories of athletic champions and the hard work that they have put in to become winners. In Indian athletes, I look up to javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra.

What would be your ultimate achievement?

It is very early to talk about my ultimate achievement, because I believe in going with the flow. I just think about performing well at all levels.

How do you set your goals?

I believe in short term goals and for tracking it I maintain a diary in which I write down what I have achieved today and compare it with yesterday’s performance. This way, I set my goal for the next day.

What is your diet like?

In this sport, I need to maintain a light body weight and at the same time have good strength .To maintain such a body type I consume mostly carbohydrates and proteins. Being a vegetarian, I don’t have many options to choose from.

As there been any low point in your life in relation to your sport?

Yes, last year in June, I injured my groin at the Asian Junior Championships in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The injury forced me to miss the World Junior Championships, which was held in Bydgoszcz city in Poland a month later.

Do you think there is enough government support for sport?

It will be great if government can offer more by sponsoring the athletes for the various international competitions, and provide good coaches and infrastructure.

Do you have a saying or motto that you live by?

Don’t think much and enjoy life.

In your leisure time what you like to do?

I just like to kick back and watch TV and sometimes like to read fiction and adventure books.
Favourite actor: Akshay Kumar
Favourite food: Chole bature
Favourite book: Harry Potter series

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