India’s Tejaswin Shankar won a historic bronze medal in the men’s high jump event at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, UK, on Wednesday.
Competing at the Alexander Stadium, Tejaswin Shankar, with an effort of 2.22m, won India’s first medal in the high jump at the Commonwealth Games. It was also India’s first track and field medal at Birmingham 2022.
"I had a long [U.S.] collegiate season and started jumping in January but getting a bronze here is like a dream come true and I'm just happy to take something back home with me," Shankar said.
Former world and CWG champion Donald Thomas from the Bahamas was tied with Tejaswin Shankar at 2.22m but the Indian athlete earned the bronze as he cleared all his jumps - 2.10m, 2.15m, 2.19m, and 2.22m - in the first attempts.
Donald Thomas, meanwhile, cleared 2.15m and 2.22m in his second tries.
World indoor championships bronze medallist Hamish Kerr of New Zealand won the gold for clearing 2.25m and pipped the defending champion Brandon Starc from Australia, also courtesy of fewer attempts.
"I've been seeing these guys [Hamish Kerr and Brandon Starc] on TV all the time so just to share the podium with them is spectacular," Shankar said. "This is my first feather in my cap so I just want things to move forward from here."
Tejaswin Shankar, who holds India’s men’s high jump national record of 2.29m, set in 2018, went for 2.28m after Donald Thomas missed all his three shots at 2.25m. However, Tejaswin Shankar’s ambitious move in his final attempt did not pay off.
Though not a gold, It was a perfect result for Tejaswin Shankar, who battled months of drama for his place in the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games.
The US-based high jumper had cleared the Athletics Federation of India’s (AFI) entry standard for CWG 2022 at a competition in the USA but was initially excluded from the Indian squad as he did not participate in India’s national inter-state meet, as mandated.
However, after Tejaswin Shankar moved to the court challenging the decision, he received the green light from AFI to compete in Birmingham.
The drama did not end there as the organisers of the Birmingham Games initially rejected his inclusion since his name was suggested after the submission deadline of June 29.
Tejaswin Shankar was finally included in the team after a meeting of the chef de mission cleared his place at the Athletes Village in Birmingham five days before the opening ceremony.
Meanwhile, former Asian champion Manpreet Kaur finished last in the women’s shot put event with a 15.59m effort on Wednesday. Canada’s Sarah Mitton (19.03) clinched the top podium followed by Jamaica’s Daniel Thomas-Dodd (18.98) and Maddison-Lee Wesche (18.84m) in the 12-woman final.