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.