Aishwarya Babu breaks long-standing triple jump national record

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Aishwarya Babu broke the national triple jump record with a remarkable performance of 14.14m on Monday, emerging as the indisputable hero of the National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships. Mayookha Johny held previous record of 14.11m established in 2011 and was bettered by 24-year-old.

On the last day of the championships, she broke the record on her third attempt. She fouled in her fourth try and then skipped the last two leaps. Renu of Haryana came in second with a distance of 13.43m, while Karthika Gothandapani came in third with a distance of 13.25m.

With an effort of 6.73m on Sunday, Aishwarya became the Indian lady with the second-longest personal best jump. The national long jump record of 6.83m is held by the great Anju Bobby George. Anju has also leapt higher than 6.73m on three previous occasions. On Tuesday, Aishwarya will partake in the finals of the long jump event.

“I was confident that I would break the national triple jump record. I had prepared for it. I hope to break the long jump record tomorrow also," she said after the stunning win. “Triple jump is my main event and I don’t train much for the long jump. But I can compete in both long jump and triple jump in the Commonwealth Games. Hopefully, I do well and win medals in the CWG," she added.

The gold medalist in the 2018 CWG triple jump was 14.64 metres, whereas the silver and bronze medalists were 14.52 metres and 13.92 metres, respectively. The gold medalist in the 2018 CWG long jump was 6.84m, whereas the silver and bronze medalists were 6.77m and 6.75m, respectively. Aishwarya claimed that her unique aspect is her speed and explosive ability, and she also disclosed that she enjoys curd rice. She is the daughter of a father who is a government employee father and a mother who is a housewife.

Her coach, Aiyappa BP, who is married to Pramila Aiyappa, the 2010 Asian Games heptathlon bronze medalist, stated she would constantly hunt for curd rice everywhere she went. “Considering her height and built, she has so much explosive power and speed and that makes her stand out. All these, are due to curd rice (laughs). She would look for curd rice wherever she goes," said Aiyappa who has been with Aishwarya for two and half years.

“She was not spotted by me, she was spotted by my wife during a Railways event. When she came to me, she was having ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear and you can imagine an athlete who had an ACL tear and now breaking triple jump national record."

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Aishwarya and her coach had to drive to Vidyanagar, some 40 kilometres from Bangalore, since Kanteerava Stadium, where she used to exercise, was closed. “We had struggled a lot, going to Vidyanagar every day. We had to take special passes but the state government and SAI had supported us a lot."

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