Watch: Tejaswin Shankar's bronze medal winning jump at CWG 2022
- Tejaswin Shankar became India's first medallist in Commonwealth Games high jump
- The 23-year-old sealed bronze with a jump of 2.22 metres
- The Delhi lad was overlooked by the Athletics Federation of India but found a place in the squad after taking the federation to court
Tejaswin Shankar's long road to Birmingham eventually proved fruitful. Left out of the Commonwealth Games despite making the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) qualification mark, the high-jumper sued the federation for overlooking him, forcing his way into the team at the very last minute. Training in front of a pack of dogs at Delhi's Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium three weeks before the Games, the 23-year-old sent Federation officials a befitting response.
Clinching bronze with a consistent sequence of jumps- peaking at 2.22 metres- the Delhi lad became the first Indian to win a high jump medal at the Games. Locked in a three-way contest with New Zealander and eventual gold-medallist Hamish Kerr and Australian silver medallist Brandon Starc- fast-bowler Mitchell Starc's brother if you didn't know- the lanky steadily raised the bar. Going from his opening 2.10-metre effort to the bronze-winning mark through jumps of 2.15 and 2.19 metres, he fell inches short of the 2.25 metres set by the two above him.
The Australian Starc struggled with his early attempts but recovered to nudge past Shankar in the standings. The defending Games champion only missed out on gold because of his false attempts in the early rounds. Tied with Kerr but second, on a technicality, it was an agonising defeat for the Baulkham Hills jumper. Tejaswin, for his part, gave the gold a good go. Twice failing to cross the 2.25-metre mark, he pegged the bar at 2.28 metres. It was not to be for the tyro. Regardless, a first medal in the event is the perfect riposte to lackadaisical Federation officials, who are perhaps more red-faced than gleeful at his achievement.
Tejaswin- also the national record-holder (2.29 metres)- was initially left out of the squad because of non-participation in the Inter-State Championships. However, having set the qualification mark at the NCAA Championships, he was eligible for selection. After a sequence of yeses and noes, AFI officials chose to leave him out of the Games squad. Hurt and angry, he challenged their decision at the Delhi High Court, with the bench deciding in his favour.