Tejaswin Shankar eyes Paris 2024 medal after historic Commonwealth Games bronze

High jumper Tejaswin Shankar dealt with uncertainty over his Birmingham 2022 spot, a late arrival and overcame the hurdles to win India’s first CWG medal in Birmingham.

By Olympics
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

It has been a whirlwind week for Indian high jumper Tejaswin Shankar.

Even a few days back, Tejaswin Shankar was sitting home, unsure if he would make it to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games 2022. On Wednesday, he was standing on the podium at the Alexander Stadium with the high jump bronze medal around his neck. The journey was a roller-coaster ride.

Despite clearing the entry standard for Birmingham 2022, Tejaswin Shankar was initially not included in the Indian athletics squad by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).

Tejaswin Shankar had to move court, which granted him a clearance. But even then, the Commonwealth Games organisers didn’t accept his entry as the last date for submission for teams had already passed.

It was only after a meeting of the chef de missions, barely a few days before the CWG 2022 commenced, that Tejaswin Shankar got his final clearance to compete at Birmingham 2022.

Tejaswin Shankar responded by making history, winning India’s first CWG medal the in high jump at the Commonwealth Games 2022 on Wednesday.

It was a just reward for a long and depressing journey.

“I feel great. I had a long journey coming here. Until five days back I did not know if I would even be here. I am glad to have made the most of that opportunity and grateful to everybody who made it happen,” Tejaswin Shankar told Olympics.com after the medal was won.

“I did not know this was India’s first high jump CWG medal!” he exclaimed.

After qualifying for the finals, the 23-year-old also had a clear strategy for how to approach the final, which he discussed with his coaches as well.

“I warmed up early because I knew it would get colder as the day went on. I got the bronze because of that. After clearing 2.22m, I wanted to make sure I would finish on the podium, which happened after Donald Thomas missed all three attempts at 2.25m,” Shankar revealed.

Tejaswin Shankar was unable to clear 2.25m himself but abandoned his third attempt once he knew a medal was coming and opted to aim higher. He went for 2.28m which would have put him in gold medal contention, but it did not quite come off.

“I knew I could challenge the leaders without risk after the bronze was secured so I decided to go for silver or gold attempting 2.28m. Some days it happens but it was not one of those days. Earlier, I would have been thinking of what I could have done better but now I am just satisfied,” stated Shankar.

The youngster, who is India’s national record holder in the high jump, now wants to use this bronze as a springboard to rise even higher.

“It is the first feather in my cap and I will use this to compete with some of the world’s best. I competed with a few of them today and if I continue this, I can go to the world championships next year as well as Paris 2024. The bronze was crucial but it also gives me crucial ranking points,” he said.

“I will now go home, spend some good time with my family. Then, I will get back to training and discuss with my coaches if I want to continue this season or take a break and prepare for 2023,” concluded Shankar.

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