Tejaswin Shankar, competing for Kansas State University, cleared a height of 2.28-metre at the Big 12 Indoor Athletics Championships in Ames, Iowa. It is a national record but it was good enough only for a bronze in a tough field.
Shankar, 19, has a four-year athletics scholarship in Kansas State University and will be pursuing a degree in business administration while trying to build on his highly promising high jump career.
Shankar’s previous personal best was 2.26-metre, a national record set in the junior national meet at Coimbatore but he was clearly in his element on the day. Tejaswin is the third Indian to compete in the NCAA circuit. Triple jumper Mohinder Singh Gill was a top competitor in the 1970s, and discus thrower Vikas Gowda did so much more recently.
Shankar’s jump would put him *joint-best among Commonwealth nations this year (outdoor) while it’s the fifth best among jumps registered indoors - either way it puts him in prime position for the Commonwealth Games which begin in April this year.
He also broke his own indoor national record of 2.19 set in January
Tejaswin broke the Indian indoor national record of 2.18 metres last month at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Speaking to The Field after his record, Tejaswin was happy with his efforts, “It’s a great feeling. I’m even more excited to come back home.”
The 19-year-old has also participated in the relay events and long jump this year, clocking a best time of 3:20.36 minutes with the K-State team in the relay, finishing second in both his races.
He injured himself during the long jump competition, but still managed to jump 7.40 metres at the DeLoss Dodds Invitational at Manhattan, Kansas in February. Shankar had earlier said that the national record was not his end goal, as far as high jump was concerned.
“The one thing he said and the one thing I really believe is there are like 195 countries and there are 195 national record holders, but there’s just one Olympic champion. So if you want to get there, then you have to learn as much as you can and not be in your bubble of ‘national record holder,’” Shankar told the K-State Sports’s website. “Coming here, the main purpose is to learn as much as I can. This is probably the best environment I could ever get, with all these great athletes around me.”
*Corrections and clarifications: The article originally said his jump of 2.28m is the best among Commonwealth nations. It’s now been corrected.