Tejaswin Shankar opened India’s medal tally in athletics at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with bronze medal in men’s high jump on Wednesday. It was India’s first CWG medal in the sport and came as a huge success for Tejaswin, who had to fight a court battle with the Athletics Federation of India to reach Birmingham.
After his win, a tweet went viral in which Tejaswin could be seen practicing in front of three stray dogs at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, even as the other athletes were in Birmingham for the Games. Speaking about his late inclusion and eventual glory to NDTV, Tejaswin said it had been a long and tough journey for him.
“It has been a journey. First to not get an opportunity to be a part of the squad and then getting one. There were so many twists and turns. It is a fairytale ending for me, to finally go back home with a medal. At home it is about you and me but when you go out of the country it is about the country. You don’t go out just to participate.
“In 2018 in Gold Coast I competed in front of a big crowd and finished 6th. That experience helped me and I wanted to be prepared and be in a medal winning position this time. I just feel lucky that everything unfolded the way it did.
“I really didn’t know till the end whether I was going. For me it was important to stay in shape at any cost. We usually go to JLN stadium around 2:30 to 3 pm to avoid the crowd in the evening. At that time the only spectators you have are stray dogs. For me from 3 stray dogs to 30,000 spectators in Birmingham, it has been a huge journey,” Tejaswin said.
This is Tejaswin’s first medal at a big multi-discipline event and he said that he didn’t have words to express his joy.
“The journey has definitely not been easy for me. But I think had the journey been easy it wouldn’t be as exciting as it is for me now. This medal means so much more to me considering that I was able to reach here a few days ago. I got an opportunity to get this medal for the country and I am just happy I could do it.
“This is my first big international medal. To be honest I don’t have words right now, to say something about this. I don’t want to say something and regret later, so may be I will say when I have the words for it.
“It was phenomenal. Specially after I saw the Kenyan guy couldn’t go to 2.25m. At that point I knew I had clinched the bronze. I saw some of the Indian coaches and athletes wave the Indian flag. I had never been in such a position so really didn’t know how to react,” Tejaswin said.
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