Indian long jumper Sreeshankar Murali has decided to skip the Diamond League Final in the United States, in order to be ready for the Asian Games that start on September 23 in Hangzhou, China.
Sreeshankar had recently competed at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, but failed to make the final. A week later, on August 31, he was competing at the Diamond League meet in Zurich, Switzerland, where he finished third.
That showing was enough for him to qualify for the Diamond League Final, which is scheduled to take place on September 16-17 in Eugene, Oregon. The 24-year-old from Kerala is the first Indian long jumper to qualify for the prestigious event, but he is now opting to skip it.
“I have my event on September 29th [qualification round] and October 1 [final] at the Asian Games,” Sreeshankar told The Hindu. “If I go to the US travelling 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.”
Sreeshankar, however, is not the only Indian athlete to have prioritised the Asian Games over a competitive global competition.
Men’s high jump national record holder Tejaswin Shankar – who now competes in the decathlon – skipped the World Championships to prepare for the Asian Games. Similarly, 20km national record holder Priyanka Goswami, and women’s 800m runner KM Chanda also skipped the Worlds in Budapest to focus on the continental event in Hangzhou.