GUN­NING FOR QUAN­TUM LEAP

Nau­raj look­ing for­ward to his sec­ond World Cham­pi­onships ap­pear­ance

New Straits Times - - Sport -

DEVINDER SINGH devinder@nst.com.my

HIGH jumper Nau­raj Singh Rand­hawa is look­ing to make a quan­tum leap af­ter end­ing the first half of the sea­son with a fourth-place at the IAAF World Chal­lenge meet in Kawasaki, Ja­pan yes­ter­day.

World Cham­pi­onships-bound Nau­raj cleared 2.25 me­tres to tie for fourth place with Ja­pan’s Naoto Tobe but fin­ished ahead of Aus­tralian train­ing mate Bran­don Starc on count­back.

Canada’s Michael Ma­son won the event with a 2.30m clear­ance on count­back from Ja­pan’s Takashi Eto while Wang Yu of China was third on 2.28m.

Nau­raj, 25, has had a pro­duc­tive three months since March dur­ing which he set a new na­tional record of 2.30m at the Sin­ga­pore Open to qual­ify for the Aug 3-14 World Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don.

He is now ranked joint-fourth in the 2017 IAAF out­door lists along­side Ma­son and Wang Yu but ahead of some il­lus­tri­ous names in­clud­ing Rio Olympic gold medal­list Derek Drouin of Canada.

“It went very well un­til 2.28m to­day,” Nau­raj told Time­s­port. yes­ter­day. “First at­tempts clear­ance all the way to 2.25m. I was in a good place men­tally but it was just me not con­trol­ling my ea­ger­ness well enough to­day.

“It led to me do­ing things dif­fer­ently at 2.28m be­cause of the ea­ger­ness. But 2.25m was a com­fort­able big clear­ance and my coach (Alex Ste­wart) said all I needed to do was re­peat what I did in my pre­vi­ous jumps.”

Nau­raj, who also won at the Can­berra Grand Prix and fin­ished sec­ond at the Aus­tralian Cham­pi­onships to team­mate Lee Hup Wei ear­lier this year, can now look for­ward to pre­par­ing for his sec­ond World Cham­pi­onships ap­pear­ance.

“I’m happy with my progress this half of the sea­son and I look for­ward to the sec­ond half later on at the end of June in Europe,” said Nau­raj, who re­turns to Kuala Lumpur to­day. “I have a win­dow now to get some load­ing in train­ing-wise be­fore head­ing into more com­pe­ti­tions.”

Fol­low­ing the World Cham­pi­onships, Nau­raj will bid to win a third straight Sea Games gold medal in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 19-30.

Nau­raj Singh Rand­hawa

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