Nauraj flying high Down Under
Singh Randhawa did not skip a beat in winning the high jump event at the Canberra Grand Prix yesterday in his first competition since the Rio Olympics last August.
Having taken an extended break since Rio, where he missed out on the final on countback, Nauraj showed little effects from an elbow surgery he underwent earlier this year.
The national record holder easily cleared 2.25 metres to win the seven-man competition which also featured teammate Lee Hup Wei, Australians Nik Bojic and Joel Baden, and Japan’s Ryo Sato.
Former Australian champion Bojic finished second on 2.19m while Hup Wei came in third on 2.16m.
Nauraj, aiming to complete a hat-trick of gold medals at the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games in August, moved into joint-25th in the world’s top list for 2017 after missing out on 2.28m.
“It was a good day and the conditions were great too,” said Nauraj, 25. “It was a good competition to start with as there was good competition from Nik, Joel, Hup Wei and Ryo.
“I’m happy with the step into the season and had a few things to take back with me today which will be the aim to work on within the next few weeks of being here.
“I’m really happy that my coach, Alex Stewart, has found a way to click into me a technical rhythm and having me to be capable enough today.”
Australia has been a happy hunting ground for Nauraj in recent seasons after winning three meets Down Under last year, including at the Australian Athletics Championships.
Nauraj believes there is room for improvement with his national record of 2.29m, which he set at the Singapore Open last year to qualify for Rio, in danger of falling soon.
“I’m happy with the result but not necessarily satisfied,” said Nauraj, who needs to clear 2.30m to qualify for the World Championships in London.
“I’ve got two more jumps here before the Malaysian Open and I attempted 2.28 today. That is within personal best territory so it’s good that I’m attempting the heights.”