“Health is good, fitness is excellent,”

Putting behind his disappointing show at last month’s World Athletics Championships in Hungary, Tamil Nadu’s Jeswin Aldrin said he was ready for the challenge at the Hangzhou Asian Games scheduled to start from September 23 in China. The track and field events will commence from September 29.

“Health is good, fitness is excellent. Looking forward to a good show in China,” he added.

The 21-year-old athlete soared high at the beginning of the 2023 season. He recorded a jump of 8.42m, the best ever by an Indian athlete, during a domestic competition in Karnataka in March.

Aldrin’s extraordinary performance not only showcased his potential, but also raised hopes of a podium finish in major upcoming international events. The only highlight of his 2023 season was a second place finish with a jump of 7.97m at the Asian Indoor Championships in Nur Sultan in February.

Despite having a global ranking in the top six leading into the August 19 to 27 Budapest World Athletics Championships, the star Indian long jumper was a shadow of his former self in the Hungarian capital.

Aldrin had also qualified for the 2022 Eugene World Athletics Championships but was unsuccessful in reaching the medal round.

Aldrin’s performance graph gradually declined in the 2023 season. On August 4, his best jump in an international event in Bern, Switzerland was 8.28m. Nearly 20 days later on August 23, at the Worlds, his best jump during qualification round was 8m. He advanced to the medal round but wasn’t able to repeat his personal best of 8.42m and couldn’t get a podium finish.

In a packed 2023 calendar, including domestic competitions, Aldrin skipped the July 12 to 16 Asian Athletics Championships held in Bangkok. Aldrin claimed health issues were the main reason for decline in his performance.

“I missed practice sessions for six weeks due to an injury. It was a challenging situation to maintain my fitness,” he told Sportskeeda over the phone.

Aldrin denied he was under pressure at the Worlds, as being the main reason for his disappointing performance.

“There was no fitness issue. There was no pressure. But a niggle in my ankle in the take-off leg (right) spoiled my rhythm in the medal round,” Aldrin said. “It was very upsetting as I wasn’t able to showcase my potential at the world stage.”

Aldrin said the global competition in Hungary didn’t go as planned. “I wanted to give my best, but nothing went as planned,” he added.

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