Patiala, Aug 16 (IANS) Long jumper M. Sreeshankar marked his return to competition on Indian soil after six months with a seasons best leap of 8 metre that gave the Indian track and field fans reason to cheer at the Indian Grand Prix V at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports here on Friday.
He had last competed in India at Sangrur, Punjab, on March 2 and had touched 7.97m in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, last month.
On a humid evening, Sreeshankar was all pumped up over his first three jumps, hitting soil at 7.95m twice after touching down 8m with his first jump. An uncharacteristic 6.71m was followed by 7.62 and 7.73m efforts. Barring that fourth leap, each of his jumps was farther than his competitors managed.
The 8m effort was only the third time in his nascent career that Sreeshankar leapt over eight-metre or more, having jumped 8.11m and 8.20m in the National Open Championships in Bhubaneshwar to wrest the national record from Ankit Sharma.
A heel injury kept the 20-year-old away from the track largely until June when he went to Europe for four competitions. "I have not competed much after coming back from injury. I am happy to hit the 8m mark again but I need to improve it further," Sreeshankar said after the competition.
Karnataka's Siddharth Naik was second with 7.56m, edging out Haryana's Sahil Mahabali by a mere centimetre.
Shot putter Inderjeet Singh looked determined to go past the 20m mark -- the World Championship qualifying is pegged at 20.70m -- when he opened with a season's best 19.51m. Yet, despite a good string of four throws in excess of 19m, his opening effort remained his best. He fouled his last two attempts and will have to seek to quality for the worlds at the National Inter-State Championships later this month.
Archana Suseentran (Tamil Nadu) gave the 200m sprint her best and won the two-woman race with a career best time of 23.18 seconds but could not meet the World Championship qualification standard (23.02 seconds).