Aldrin qualifies for maiden World Championships long jump finals
, the national record holder in long jump, secured a spot in the finals of his maiden
World Athletics Championships
. However, his fellow competitor
faced an unexpected exit due to a lackluster performance at the qualification round in Budapest on Wednesday.
Aldrin had previously gained attention for his remarkable 8.42m national record leap in March, propelling him into the spotlight as the season’s leading contender.
During the qualification round, he managed to clear the 8.0m mark in his first attempt, but unfortunately, he fouled his next two jumps. Despite this, his performance proved adequate to secure him a place among the 12 finalists, scheduled to compete on Thursday.
To progress to the finals, athletes needed to achieve the automatic qualification distance of 8.15m or secure a place within the top 12 rankings from the combined results of the two qualification groups.
Aldrin concluded the qualification round in sixth place within Group B. Overall, he ranked as the twelfth-best performer across both groups, narrowly securing his spot in the finals as the final qualifier.
Sreeshankar had a disappointing series of 7.74m, 7.66m and 6.70m as he finished 12th in Group A qualification round and 22nd overall.
His exit in the qualification round was another shocker for the Indian camp reeling under 3000m steeplechaser
‘s disappointing failure to make it to the finals. He was expected to at least reach the finals.
Sreeshankar has been more consistent than Aldrin this season, having crossed the 8m mark on many occasions. He achieved his personal best of 8.41m in Bhubaneswar in June and was entering the World Championships on the back of his silver-winning jump of 8.37m in the Asian Championships in July.
But on Wednesday, form deserted
— the Paris Diamond League third place finisher — when it mattered the most. He had finished seventh in the 2022 World Championships in USA. This was his third appearance in the showpiece.
For Aldrin, this was his second appearance in the World Championships. He had crashed out at the qualification round in the 2022 edition in USA.
In a rare feat, two Indians — Aldrin and Sreeshankar — had entered the World Championships as first and second ranked long jumpers in the season leaders’ list.
Aldrin has been struggling to touch the 8m mark after his big jump early in the season. He had also faced fitness issues, which led to him missing the Asian Championships in July.
His most recent outing was at the CITIUS Meeting in Bern, Switzerland which he won with 8.22m.
(With PTI Inputs)