CWG 2018

CWG 2018 athletics: High jumper Tejaswin Shankar finishes 6th, Hima Das records new personal best

High jumper Shankar was considered a medal prospect but he couldn’t end up on the podium.

India continued their search for a medal from athletics in the 21st Commonwealth Games with high jumper Tejaswin Shankar and quartermiler Hima Das both finishing sixth in their respective events in Gold Coast on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old national record holder Tejaswin could not clear 2.27m in three attempts to be out of contention for a podium finish. He had leaped 2.28m while winning the gold in the Federation Cup National Championships last month but on the day of the final he was not in his element.

Tejaswin started with 2.18m which he cleared in his second attempt and sailed the 2.21m-high bar comfortably. He then cleared 2.24m in his first attempt but stuck at 2.27m to the disappointment of the Indian athletics contingent.

“This is the first time I started with 2.18. Generally I start with 2.10 but then now I know that I have to practice at higher heights. That’s how it works in finals. 2.18 looked really good and I thought I was doing really well,” Tejaswin, who is now based out of USA, said after his event.

“Trying to clear 2.27m, somewhere I lost the rhythm. The first two attempts were really bad but then I tried to put everything together for the last attempt but it didn’t work out. It wasn’t my day.”

He said he will have to clear 2.30m to have any chance of winning a medal in such competitions events.

“I am pretty sure that I will do that (clearing 2.30m) this year. The biggest positive is I could hold my nerve against these big competitors – the Olympic and Commonwealth medallists. I realised they are people like me, they are not gods.”

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc’s brother Brandon won the gold with a personal best effort of 2.32m while Jamal Wilson (2.30m) of Bahamas and Django Lovett (2.30m) of Canada took the silver and bronze respectively.

In the women’s 400m finals, Hima Das ran yet another personal best of 51.32 seconds, finishing 6th. The 18-year-old Indian had clocked 51.53 seconds, her personal best before today, in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Hima clocked the same time as fifth place Maximila Imali of Kenya but the Indian was given sixth place in a photo finish.

Botswana’s Amantle Montsho took the gold in 50.14 seconds while the Jamaican duo of Anastasia Le-Roy (50.57) and Stephenie McPherson (50.93).

In the women’s long jump, Nayana James and Neena Varakil made it to the finals after finishing ninth and 12th respectively overall in the qualification round.

Nayana cleared 6.34m in her second attempt to finish fourth in Group B while Neena had a best effort of 6.24 to end at sixth in Group A.

Those who clear 6.60m or at least 12 best performers advance to the final. In the qualification round, only four competitors got past 6.60m.

Nayana has a season’s best of 6.51m which she achieved at the Federation Cup National Championships where she won a gold last month while Neena has a season’s best of 6.42m which she managed during the Asian Games test event in Jakarta in February.

The 2015 World Championships silver medallist Shara Proctor of England qualified for the finals on the top of the heap with a best effort of 6.89m while current world season leader Christabel Nettey of Canada was second with 6.79m.

The women’s long jump final will be held on Thursday.

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.