‘Need to pretend a lot at the Olympics’


The Indian athletes will be in Tokyo without any international experience this season and Anju Bobby George has offered a tip to long jumper M. Sreeshankar on how to handle this handicap.

And it could turn out to very useful for the others too.

“There may be jumpers who have done 8.50 or 8.60m. So you will have to pretend you are a good jumper too. Your performance will all depend on how you behave that day,” said Anju, the country’s lone World championships medallist (long jump bronze, 2003), in a chat with The Hindu.


“Even if you’re anxious during the event, pretend that your confidence is up and everything is okay with you. In fact, all the athletes will pretend. Even your coach will be watched closely so he should also pretend that everything is good.”

That means one’s acting skills could come in handy at the Olympics.

No jitters

Anju explained that she did not have any jitters during her Olympic debut.


“Though 2004 was my first Olympics, I was already an established athlete. I had won the Worlds bronze, was among the world’s top four and had done all the competitions with the others. So, I was familiar to them and they to me,” said Anju, who was fifth in that Olympics with 6.83m which is still the national record.

“I did not have much pressure and I was all set. In fact, I achieved the qualification standard with my first jump at the Olympics.”

The qualification round will be the biggest hurdle at the Olympics.


“Even for top jumpers, the first round will be the biggest headache. If you don’t qualify for the final with your first jump, you will be under much pressure and the coach will have to play a crucial role,” said the 44-year-old.

“Because the two groups will be run simultaneously and only 12 will make the final. Most of them will not achieve the automatic qualification standard (likely to be 8.15m), and probably something near 8.10m would do, so you will have to keep watching the standings and decide what to do: whether to stop after the first jump to reserve your energy for the final or whether to go for three jumps.

“And they need to do proper homework about the other athletes before they go.”


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