Murali Sreeshankar was “very happy’ to win the silver medal in the men’s long jump at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Thursday, but a “bit disappointed” at being unable to take home the gold.
The 23-year-old from Palakkad Kerala cleared a distance of 8.08 metres in his fifth attempt to finish behind Laquan Nairn of The Bahamas in a nerve-wrecking final and become the first Indian male athlete to win a Commonwealth Games medal in the event.
“Very happy, to be honest. I have been waiting for this for a very long time.
“I desperately wanted a medal here. I knew that a good jump will fetch me a medal here. I wanted to do my personal best (8.36m) here but, unfortunately, the conditions were not quite favourable.
“It was windy and cold and the main challenge was to overcome these conditions.
“After the first round I got a good rhythm. Happy with the silver medal, even though a bit disappointed that I could not win the gold,” said Sreeshankar after the event.
Reflecting on his performance in the final, Sreeshankar, the lone athlete to breach the automatic mark of 8 metres in the qualification round, with an opening round effort of 8.05m, said he would like to dedicate the historic silver medal to his father and the Sports Ministry of India.
“I am elated. A bit disappointed that I could not win gold but happy that I won silver for the country. I would like to dedicate this medal to all those who stood by me, including my father, our Sports Ministry.”
Jovan van Vuuren (8.06m) of South Africa claimed the bronze medal.