Birmingham: Till about a few days back, high jumper Tejaswin Shankar was not sure whether he would be able to participate in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
On Wednesday night, he was standing on the podium at the Alexander Stadium here, with a bronze medal around his neck and a smile of satisfaction on his lips as he bagged his first medal in a major multi-discipline international competition.
After not being picked for the Games as he did not participate in the Inter-State meet — which were the trials, his name was eventually cleared for participation by the court and it was only last week that the organisers relented and permitted him to join the Indian athletics squad as a late replacement. He reached Birmingham just three days back.
He gave all his critics a resounding reply, silent and potent, which also makes his bronze medal as good as gold.
With one superb leap over the bar, the 23-year-old Tejaswin silenced his critics by winning the bronze medal in the men's high jump, India's first medal in athletics in the 2022 edition of the Games and the country's 29th medal overall in track and field at the Commonwealth Games.
The medal did not come easy as Tejaswin had to overcome a stiff challenge to bag it. His best effort of the day of 2.22 metres — not his personal best effort — was nevertheless crucial as that secured him third place on the podium.
New Zealand's Hamish Kerr won the gold medal with a best jump of 2.25 — the same as Brandon Starc of Australia, who eventually won the silver medal thanks to the 2:19m. He cleared it but was soon joined by the chasing pack, who were looking for an opportunity.
Tejaswin eventually won the medal with a leap of 2.22, He attempted to lift 2.25, assuring himself a bronze. He did make an attempt at 2.25 regards to sealing victory.