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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Mayookha hopes to 'skip and jump' to Olympic glory

Triple jump is also sometimes referred to as hop, skip and jump. For Mayookha Johny, who was one of the first Indian athletes to qualify for the London Olympics, her event was as plain as hopping, skipping and jumping till about seven months ago.

Mayookha hopes to 'skip and jump' to Olympic glory

But her trip to Berlin to train under German coach George Ramlow changed her outlook about triple jump. “I never knew triple jump was so much about technique. All I knew about triple jump was to run in hard, take a pause and then take a big leap.The training in Germany taught me that triple jump is an event where scientific training can help optimise your talent,” Mayookha had said when she came to India in May on a short break from her training.Even though she qualified for Olympics in triple jump last year, the 24-year old was hell-bent on achieving qualification in long jump too. But she failed in her endeavour. “I wanted to achieve Olympic qualification in long jump because I thought I had better medal prospects in that event.But Ramlow sir was not so keen that I dabble in both events before the Olympics. He advised me to concentrate on the event in which I had already qualified. Though my training regime in Germany revolved more around triple jump, I tried to achieve qualification in long jump too due to my personal interest.However, I knew qualifying in both events was a difficult task and finally my plans didn’t materialise,” Mayookha told TOI from Berlin on Thursday.__PAGEBREAK__Though Mayookha is the first Indian athlete to cross the 14m barrier in triple jump, her personal best of 14.11 is way below world and Olympic standards. The world record stands in the name of Inessa Kravets of Ukraine who cleared a distance of 15.50 at Gothenburg in 1995.The Olympic record belongs to Francoise Mbango Etone of Cameroon with a jump of 15.39 metres at Beijing four years back. Mayookha will be up against Etone, who will be gunning for her third successive Olympic triple jump gold at London. The other strong contenders in the event are Olha Saladhuka of Ukraine and Yamile Aldama of Great Britain.Mayookha’s best is just above the Olympic ‘B’ standard qualification in the event of 14.10 while the ‘A’ standard itself is at 14.30.Having developed her skills at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the athlete from Kozhikode claims she has made tremendous improvement in the last seven months of training in Germany. “My technique has undergone an overhaul. I learnt about bio-mechanics of take-off. Now my momentum when I run in is much better. Also my landing technique has been corrected,” says Mayookha.But will all this land her a medal at London? The athlete is quite candid in her reply. “All the improvements I have talked about are short-cuts to success because I landed in Germany only seven months back. While I am extremely thankful to the government for sending me abroad, I wish they had sent me earlier.In seven months, there is only so much you can change. When I reached here, I saw athletes who have been preparing for the London Games under Ramlow sir since 2008. I wish to continue my training in Germany even after the Olympics.There’s so much to learn. I hope the government supports me. I don’t think London is going to be my last Olympics. London is just the beginning.”However, the athlete is disappointed that her personal coach Shyam Kumar will not be with her in London. The IOA has not cleared his name in the list of coaches who will be travelling to London. “I have been training under Shyam Kumar for the last one and a half years.It was he who suggested the idea of training in Germany. And since he was here with me in Germany, Shyam sir knows the techniques Ramlow sir has taught me. His presence in London would have given me a big boost,” said Mayookha.But the athlete is willing to put the disappointment behind her. “My aim is to give my best in London. Whether my best will be good enough to win me a medal in London is something I don’t know. I pray and hope it does,” she concludes.

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