Why did Murali Sreeshankar opt out of Diamond League 2023 final?

After an under par performance at the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest, Indian long jumper Murali Sreeshankar has decided to skip the upcoming Diamond League 2023 final in Eugene, Oregon, in the United States. Sreeshankar, now, has decided to give his complete attention to the Asian Games 2023 scheduled in Hangzhou, China, from September 23, 2023. Murali Sreeshankar had secured a third-place finish in the Paris Diamond League event, becoming the first Indian long jumper to qualify for the Diamond League final. However, he has opted not to compete in the USA due to logistical and health issues.

What Murali Sreeshankar said in the interview

Murali Sreeshankar told The Hindu, “I have my event on September 29th (qualification round) and October 1 (final) at the Asian Games. If I go to the US traveling some 15 hours, compete for a day and then fly back to India and then travel again to China for the Asiad, that will be too much for my body.” He added that the 12-day gap between the two competitions will make it difficult for him to properly train and recover from jet lag. Sreeshankar’s concerns arise from a disappointing performance in the World Athletics Championships 2023, where he failed to make it past the qualification round despite strong preparation.

Sreeshankar also mentioned about his recent struggles and added, “Preparation-wise, my warm-up, everything was perfect. But my jumps came some 30 to 40 minutes after that. And when I took my approach for the jump, I felt my muscles tighten suddenly.” Neeraj Chopra, the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 World champion javelin thrower, and Avinash Sable, the Commonwealth Games 2022 silver medalist, are the other two Indian athletes who will be participating in the Diamond League final, set to take place on September 16 and 17. 

Highlights from the Zurich Diamond League 2023’s long jump event

According to Murali, his participation in the Zurich Diamond League 2023 on August 31 boosted his confidence for the upcoming Asian Games 2023 in China. At the Weltklasse Zürich meet 2023, Sreeshankar came in fifth with the best jump of 7.99m, which he registered in his first attempt. With this, he progressed to the Wanda Diamond League 2023 final. Tokyo Olympics and the reigning world champion Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece won the event in his final effort with a best jump of 8.20m.

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