Nau­raj fly­ing high Down Un­der

New Straits Times - - Sport - Devin­der Singh

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.”

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