Asian Games champion Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy’s bid for the fourth BWF title of the season failed as they lost to China’s world No. 1 pair of Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang in three games in the double's final at the China Masters badminton tournament in Shenzhen on Sunday.
Eyeing his first Asian Games medal as a decathlete, Tejaswin Shankar believes his decision to skip the World Athletics Championships in Budapest and train in humid conditions at the national capital, similar to the weather conditions he anticipates at Hangzhou during the continental event, will work in his favour.
In his just second competition as a decathlete, Tejaswin scored 7,648 points at the Jim Click Shootout competition in Arizona, USA, missing out on Bharatinder Singh’s 2011 national record by 10 points. The score also allowed him to cross the 7,500-point mark needed to secure an Asian Games berth.
After his stellar performance at Arizona, Tejaswin competed in two more Decathlon events — the 62nd National Interstate Senior Athletics Championship and, most recently, the Asian Athletics Championships.
The Delhi boy, however, decided to skip last month’s World Championships, despite qualifying for the men’s high jump event, and had instead shifted focus to improving his chances of a podium finish at the Asian Games, where he will debut as a decathlete.
“Ahead of the Asian Games, because I was able to deprive myself of competitions, I have regained the emotional feeling of wanting to compete. I believe it will make a big difference in my Day – 1 score,” Tejaswin said.
“The best decision I could ever make was to stay back in Delhi and train here because the weather is very similar to what it’s going to be in Hangzhou. We are in late September and it’s still 30-35 degrees and 90 percent humid. It has really helped me channel myself and get ready for what is expected to come, because I have spent time training in this environment for the last 3-4 months,” he added.
While he has eyes on a podium finish, Tejaswin said his aim is to promote decathlon, considered as one of the toughest in track and field competitions.
“I feel like medals, competitors, statistics, are all for the analysts to worry about,” Tejaswin said.
“As an athlete, the one thing that I worry about is the sport. Anything can happen on a given day. Because if we go by statistics, last year, I had no shot first of all, even making it to the Commonwealth Games and second of all, getting a medal there. So for me at the Asian Games, the whole expectation is to try and recreate what I did at the Commonwealth Games. Because the experience was really good,” the Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS) athlete added.
In July this year, Tejaswin made a stunning debut at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok by claiming the bronze medal, earning his first international medal in the event, with a score of 7527 points.
He believes that he could have achieved a better score but the weather conditions, and the short interval of three weeks between the Interstate Championships, and the Asian Athletics led to him not being his best self on Day 1 competitions. Competing in a decathlon is not an easy task as it is a gruelling competition comprising 10 events – 100m, long jump, high jump, shot put and 400m on Day One, followed by 110m hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin and 1500m on Day 2.
“Before the Asian Championships, when I was at IIS, I was able to get multiple physical tests and they guided me on how to improve my physical abilities to prepare for major championships. I also had some physical imbalances and they guided me on how I can improve my diet nutrition-wise,” Tejaswin said.
“The Day One events are really suited for my physicality. I was not able to do justice to those events, from my analysis, due to the weather and short intervals,” he said.
As he packs off for another grueling meet, Tejaswin’s only wish is to earn the fame that has long deserted the decathletes in the country.
The Asian Games is being telecast live on the Sony Sports Network with live streaming on SonyLIV.