MANGALURU: It was almost 10 in the morning and the sun was blazing. With the heat building up, activities were few and far between at the warm-up ground adjacent to Mangala stadium. Not many will turn up now, opined the security guards at the entrance.
Then, suddenly , a strapping lad in knee-length sweat pants strolled in. Arpinder Singh, national record holder in triple jump, has always carried this knack of giving shocks and surprises. When the world wrote him off as a shadow of Renjith Maheshwary, he surprised them by beating Renjith effortlessly in the Lucknow inter-state meet with a national record. When the country expected him to fetch an Asian Games medal, he shocked them by finishing fifth in Incheon.
The words of coach SS Pannu about his ward that “you can expect anything from this guy” have always held true. If Arpinder is anything, it’s that he is a surprise package, and a talented one too. He has his ways, his methods.That’s why the idea of projecting him as a sure bet for the upcoming Asian Athletics Championship doesn’t amuse him much. He has set sight on making the cut for the World Championships, an expectation that makes sense.
“The mark for World Championship is 16.90m and I have done that distance before. I can do it again,” he said, getting ready for the practice jumps after the initial warm-up.
Since his coach hasn’t accompanied him to Mangaluru, Arpinder had to evaluate his jumps all by himself. Triple Jump being a strong technical event, managing jumps without a coach is a tall ask. But Arpinder didn’t whine about it.”He was busy with some official work in Punjab. So he gave this event a miss.”
When Arpinder began jumping in half-approach, he encountered an issue. Someone needed to hold the measurement tape on one end so that he could note down the distance. But he didn’t have anyone accompanying him. These are the moments that will land any jumper in a bad mood. But Arpinder managed it well by placing a red brick on top of the tape near the take-off line. “It’s 13 something. It’s good in eight strides.I usually take 20-strides in competitions,” he said after the measurement.
The 22-year-old is planning to move to the US in June and train under Jeremy Fischer, who is the personal coach of Olympic medallist Will Claye. For that he will make use of the funds he had received under the ‘Target Olympic Podium’ scheme.