LUCKNOW: A few days before the 59th Inter-State Athletics meet, Arpinder Singh had told this daily he was slowly getting back to his best. While training and technique is important in athletics, recovery and mindset also play a crucial role. Most importantly, athletes need to stick to a regime and diet — something that has not happened in Arpinder’s case for a while, according to him.
That came to haunt the triple jumper once again on Wednesday as he failed to qualify for the World Championships. With a leap of 16.83m, he bagged gold, but the effort was 12cm short of the qualifying mark. “My training has been a mess. I need to stay in one place and practice under one coach. I am everywhere. That’s not helping. With Yaich, there is some kind of stability at last,” Arpinder said.
Arpinder is currently training under French coach Antony Yaich at the Inspire Institute of Sports in Bengaluru. The 2018 Asian Games gold medallist is in his peak years as an athlete. But at 26, he is still to participate in the Olympics or World Championships. Yaich feels the next year will be his. “To get there, he needs to participate in events that are high in standard,” Yaich said.
Arpinder has one more chance to qualify for the World Championships, at the Grand Prix VI in Delhi on September 5. “My result today was much better than a few months back and in competitions in France, where my performance was very average. In these four months, I feel I have made some progress. But today, the heat was too much. For the first two jumps, I had the energy. Then, the heat got to me. Mentally, I am confident I can do it. But my body was not able to deliver. I will work hard and give it my all in Delhi.”
Technique is no longer a problem with Arpinder, according to Yaich. The coach and pupil have been working tirelessly on several aspects and ahead of the Grand Prix in New Delhi, Yaich wants to make sure Arpinder gets enough time for rest and recovery.
After the first jump on Wednesday at the PCA Athletics Stadium, it seemed he was going to make the cut. His speed had increased during the run-up, giving him a better start. His body posture while landing was almost close to perfect. There was a swagger and confidence in the way he controlled his body during the jump. He even bettered the first attempt, but lost his mind after that. Or so it seemed.
“I don’t want to say it’s very encouraging. We came here to jump 17m. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do it. The first attempt where he jumped 16.74, he was so far from the board. But I think he tried to go too hard after that. When that happens, you lose the technique. He used to hit the board very hard and that’s not ideal. We have been working on that for four months,” Yaich said.
Like Arpinder, Yaich feels four months is not enough to prepare for an elite event like the World Championship. The constant change of coaches and diet and other aspects like weather have taken a toll on him. “I try and tell him to jump like a cheetah and not like a bull. And when he does that, he jumps 17m almost everyday. This is what he did in training last week. But we need time. The heat didn’t help. I think his real potential will come next year at the Olympic Games. But we have the Grand Prix. For now, we are going back to Bengaluru and do treatment like cryotherapy and massage.”
A week from now, it will be known if Arpinder will travel to Doha or not. Time is running out. But for now, the 26-year-old is happy that he has gotten into a routine.