Athletics: Indian Track & Field Athletes who excelled in the year 2022

Let's take a look at the Indian track and field athletes who showed their prowess courtesy of their stellar performance in the international arena.

Eldhose paul (center) and Abdulla Aboobacker (left) during the CWG 2022 medal ceremony (In a file photo; Credits - Twitter)
By Abhiruchi Rout | Dec 26, 2022 | 5 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Just like 2021, the year 2022 was a memorable year for Indian Sports & Games fans. The athletes were outstanding in their respective disciplines on the international platform. After an impressive Tokyo Olympics and Tokyo Paralympics, Indian athletes came back on top with sensational performances at the World Stage and Commonwealth Games 2022. As a result of which, India had a successful outing at the Commonwealth Games 2022 held in Birmingham, winning 61 medals. Let’s take a look at the Indian track and field athletes who showed their prowess courtesy of their stellar performance in the international arena.

Neeraj Chopra

After his gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year, Neeraj Chopra returned to the international circuit after a 10-month gap to win the silver medal at the Paavo Nurmi Games. On his way to silver, he also rewrote the national record with a throw of 89.30 metres at the games in Turku, Finland. At the World Athletics Championships 2022 in Oregon, India’s golden boy Neeraj won a silver medal. This was India’s greatest performance at the worlds to date and only the second medal after Anju Bobby George’s bronze in the long jump at the 2003 World Athletics Championships in Paris.

Due to a groin ailment, Neeraj Chopra skipped the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and was unable to defend his title. Chopra, though, made up for it with a fantastic Diamond League performance. Neeraj Chopra qualified for the Diamond League Final in Zurich after placing second in the Stockholm meet and first in the Lausanne’s leg, the first-ever victory by an Indian in the Diamond League. He became the first Indian to win a Diamond League title after an outstanding performance in the Swiss city. Neeraj repeatedly broke the national record during this time, with his most recent personal best throw of 89.94 meters came in the Stockholm Diamond League competition.

Eldhose Paul

Eldhose was one of the athletes who showed the world that consistency is the key to success. In 2022, his consistency throughout the season guided him to a gold medal victory at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. It all started with a gold-winning performance at the Federation Cup 2022 held in April. Eldhose recorded his then personal best of 16.99 m at the championship. He then traveled to Eugene for the 2022 Worlds. Although the other two Indians Praveen Chithravel (17.18m) and Abdulla Aboobacker (17.19m) had greater personal bests, Eldhose’s consistency paid off as he recorded better performance than his two other compatriots in the qualification to make it to the final of the Worlds. He qualified with an effort of 16.68 to secure his spot as the 12th overall, thus becoming the first Indian triple jumper to reach the final of the Worlds. In the final, he ended up ninth with a best attempt of 16.79m.

Eldhose’s big breakthrough came at the Commonwealth Games 2022 when he claimed India’s maiden triple jump gold after defeating compatriot Abdulla Aboobacker for India’s first-ever 1-2 finish in the histiory of the games. He claimed the gold medal with a best jump of 17.03m in the men’s Triple Jump event, while Aboobacker secured the silver, making the best effort of 17.02m. Praveen, the third Indian who was a part of the event, finished fourth with an effort of 16.89 m.

Avinash Sable

Avinash Sable, competing for the first time internationally, placed second to win the silver medal in the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, with a timing of 8:30.19. Despite twice being the victim of Takele Nigate’s unintentional tripping throughout the race, he ran 8:25.23 in the heats of the World Championships on October 1, 2019, breaking his national record and placing seventh in the heats.  However, following a successful appeal by the Athletics Federation of India, Sable was included in the final and became the first Indian to qualify for the World Championships 3000m steeplechase final. In the final, he further lowered the record to 8:21.37, placed 13th out of 16 racers, and earned a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Sable set a new national record at the 2020 Summer Olympics by finishing seventh in her heat in 8:18.12. Across all heats, he was the quickest non-qualifier. Sable’s biggest victory came in 2022, when he won silver with a new national record time of 8:11.20 at the Commonwealth Games. It was also the first time since 1994 that an athlete from outside Kenya has won a medal in the men’s 3000m steeplechase at the Commonwealth Games. Kenyans had won every steeplechase race at the previous ten CWGs, earning every podium slot. With this, he had broken the national record for the ninth time.

Murali Sreeshankar

The last athlete on the list is the national record holder for India in the long jump event, Murali Sreeshankar. The athlete’s career is known to be affected by long-term injuries. He was picked in the Indian squad to compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games but withdrew 10 days before the competition after being diagnosed with appendicitis.  He was put on a liquid diet after an urgent appendix operation, which caused him to lose a lot of weight and become unable to walk properly. Despite having less strength, speed, and attention than before the sickness, he competed at the 2018 Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Gifu two months later and took home the bronze medal with a leap of 7.47 meters. At the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, he struggled with run-up troubles and finished sixth in the final with 7.95 meters.

Sreeshankar achieved a jump of 8.26 meters, a new national record, at the Federation Cup in Patiala in March 2021, qualifying him for the 2020 Summer Olympics. He recorded a qualifying round leap of 7.69 meters at the Tokyo Olympics, however, he was unable to advance to the final. It was later established that he wasn’t performing at his peak when representing India in Tokyo. The following year, he returned to competition in the 2022 World Athletics Championships, where he made it to the final round and came in seventh with a jump of 7.96 meters.

His first significant triumph came at the Commonwealth Games 2022 when he won the silver medal by clearing a height of 8.08 meters on his fifth try. This was the exact distance that Bahamas gold medalist Laquan Nairn covered in his second attempt. However, because there was a tie, Narin edged out Sreeshankar because his second-best leap on his sixth try was 7.98m while Sreeshankar’s second-best was 7.84m. After Prajusha Maliakkal’s silver medal in the women’s event in Delhi in 2010, this was the joint-best long jump performance by an Indian in the CWG.

Read more: Athletics Federation of India (AFI) Competition Calendar 2023: LIVE Streaming, When and Where To Watch, Schedule