Sharad, Thangavelu vow improvements in Tokyo
Sharad and Thangavelu said it was not their best
They finished on the podium by clinching the silver and the bronze but Indian para athletes Sharad Kumar and Mariyappan Thangavelu were left disappointed with their performance but vowed there will be improvements in Tokyo.
Asian Para Games champion Sharad won the silver and Rio Paralympics gold medallist Thangavelu landed the bronze in the men's high jump T63 category on the eighth day of the World Para Athletics Championships on Thursday night.
Sharad came up with a leap of 1.83 metres, while Thangavelu jumped 1.80 metres. The gold went to American Sam Grewe who conjured 1.86 metres, which was a championship record.
And while it was their season's best, both Sharad and Thangavelu said it was not their best.
"Athletics is like that, sometimes, it is your day, sometimes not," Sharad said at the Dubai Club for People of Determination Stadium.
"I think I have disappointed myself. If I have trained abroad for so long, faced all harsh conditions and jumped the same here which any other person is doing, then I think it is a disappointing performance. I need to recheck my schedules and my planning. There's a lot of things I need to look at," he added.
Sharad, who won gold in South Korea in 2014 and Indonesia in 2018, has been training in Kiev, Ukraine for the past three years under coach Nikitan as part of TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme), initiated by the Government of India.
Apart from those two gold medals in Asia, Sharad won a silver at the World Para Athletics in London in 2017. But Sharad said those two Asian medals pale into significance when it comes to the Worlds.
"Yeah, I've won two Asian Paraa Games gold medals but that doesn't matter when you lose here," said Sharad, who plans to take a break and go on a holiday.
"I just want to go on a holiday. My friends are here from London. Let's rest for a while. I've been competing for a while," he said
Sharad, who suffered paralysis on his left leg when he was two, thanked the Indian Government for their backing and said that he will come back better at the Paralympics in Tokyo next year.
"To be very honest, I just want the Government to keep supporting us. The performance here was sufficient. Let's hope for a good one in Tokyo," said Sharad, who holds a Masters in International Relations from JNU.
Meanwhile, Thangavelu said that the cold weather meant he was unable to loosen up enough.
"It was not my best. My body was tight," said Thangavelu.
"I couldn't do my best. My best is 1.89 metres. The weather was not great for me. It was cold. My body couldn't warm up properly," he added.
Thangavelu, who was run over by a bus when he was young, which injured his right leg, said he will strive to do his best in Tokyo.
"I want to to my best there. That is my target," said the Padma Shri and Arjuna award winner.
Thangavelum, who hails from Salem from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, trains at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Bengaluru. He also is a Group A coach at SAI.
Meanwhile, the day saw seven world records being set across different disciplines and various categories. Meanwhile, Jaryd Clifford won his second gold after triumphing in the men's 5000m T13 category. The Australian had broken the world record en route to winning the 1500m T13 gold, earlier in the week.
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