Tejaswin Shankar, who won India’s historic medal in high jump, said that if not in Birmingham, he would have been watching the games wearing a lungi at home.
Image Credit source: PTI
Birmingham. Before winning the bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games 2022 Tejaswin Shankar He had to overcome many obstacles to reach Birmingham. Firstly, the Athletics Federation of India dropped him from the Commonwealth Games team. Then he approached the Delhi High Court, only after which he was included in the team. But then the organizers of Birmingham 2022 rejected IOA’s request to include him. However, they were included later. He reached Birmingham after the start of CWG 2022. But finally, he breathed a sigh of relief after winning the bronze medal in Birmingham.
In an interview with TV9 Sports, Tejaswin Shankar talks about his bronze medal in the high jump at Birmingham 2022. He spoke a lot about his odds and then becoming a winner. Here are some important excerpts from the conversation.
What does this bronze medal mean to you considering what happened in the past few months?
I was in conversation with Hamish, who won the gold medal. I told him that my bronze medal is better than your gold medal. I joked, my medal looks like gold. I think being here is a great opportunity. Everyone knows it has been a tough journey for me in the last month and a half, but after coming to Birmingham, I didn’t think about those things. I knew I had to do something. I’m not going to make excuses. I told myself that I don’t have to make excuses. I wanted to make the most of the opportunity. It is not said, ‘Come late, come right’. I can’t complain.
You said you can’t complain about the medal. But do you think you could have won the gold medal?
I am happy with my bronze medal. Five days ago, if I had not come here, you would have called me and I would have been watching the high jump competition of the Commonwealth Games wearing a lungi at my home. Getting a chance to be here means a lot to me. I don’t want to be greedy. For me, getting a bronze is a big achievement in itself. You go step by step and I am happy with the steps I have taken. I don’t want to be greedy about the gold medal. Yes, I tried for gold in the event. I wanted to get the gold medal because I had such an opportunity. Now that everything is done, I have no regrets. I’m happy.
You were clapping with the audience and making them excited. What does it mean for a high jumper to be a showman? Because we’ve also seen other players like Mutaz Bershim and Gianmarco Tambery come up with unique ways to excite the audience…
Commonwealth Games are held once every four years and many players win gold medals, but people will not remember them as much as they will remember a showman. I don’t know whether I will get this chance again or not. So, after winning the bronze medal, I thought I would meet every person, every child, who was shaking hands from the stands. I shook hands with him because it will be memorable for him and for me too. To be honest, the British audience was very excited and they were supporting everyone. They came here to watch track and field and they were not just supporting their players. It was really exciting.
Is your approach to being a showman new or do you always do it during competition and interact with the audience?
I am generally very introverted. I don’t like going out or hanging out with friends. I am a lazy person who likes to stay at home. Sometimes I watch my videos and feel embarrassed. I show it to my mother too and she thinks I should be happy with it. At the NCAA Championships, I tore my bib. When I look at it from the other person’s point of view, what do I think I’m doing? I’m just making a fool of myself. But sometimes emotions take over. Games are full of emotions. It is not necessary that it is just a show, but when you feel empty inside, it gives inspiration to do so. I touched the bar at 2.10 metres. To be honest it should have been a miss. At that time I knew I needed to do better. I needed some applause. I needed some enthusiasm for the long jump. The rest is just a matter of history. If you ask me now how that jump was for me, I can’t even remember. But I am just happy with what happened.