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After the Birmingham Commonwealth Games this year, Eldhose Paul has come under the searchlight of media across the country. The 26-year-old triple jumper set the feat by winning the first-ever gold medal in the Commonwealth Games and within the next few months of this gold medal, Paul created another history to have qualified for the World Championship as the first ever Indian triple-jumper. After the gold medal in Birmingham Eldhose Paul commented on his success,
“There was no magic behind the achievements. Years of perseverance were there that guided me to acquire these laurels.”
Paul who resides in a village named Kolenchery, 26 km away from Ernakulam city in Kerala lost his mother at the age of four. His father who is retired now was a daily wage labor. Paul and his younger brother Abin were looked after by their grandmother Saramma at home. Paul who is presently busy with training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Bangalore said over the phone,
“I would not have been in today’s position had grandma not been there. She has done everything whatever a mother does for her child.” The interesting part of grandma’s adoration is according to Paul, “Even at 89 years old, Grandma always asks me whether I eat properly, sleep in time when I am abroad. Even after I returned with the gold from Birmingham, Grandma was careful than expressing elation. She advised me to do more hard work so that I can maintain consistency.”
The Hurdles in life of Eldhose Paul
In his school days, Paul did not have much acquaintance with sports. He studied there like other boys. The students had to take part in games and different events. Eldhose, initially failing to choose any suitable event, preferred pole vaulting. But simultaneously, Eldhose used to watch the videos of triple jumps, and long jumps and became infatuated gradually. He remembered,
“From school, I went to MA College and got admitted there to fulfill my desire that was generated by watching long jump videos.” There he first met TP Ouseph who also trained legendary Anju Bobby George and Bobby Aloysius. But at the beginning of his training under Ouseph also, Eldhose did not get any opportunity to participate in any local competition. The triple jumper explained, “Ouseph sir often used to ask to keep patience in the first year. I started taking part in competitions in the second year. My height (5 ft 8 inch) is relatively shorter than other triple jumpers. So I concentrated on building strength and speed to cover up the deficiency of my height. I used to jump 13.40 meters at that time which was the distance generally covered by women jumpers. From 2018-19 I started winning medals in state championships and made the breakthrough in 2021 by winning the gold medal in Indian Grand Prix events as well as in the national championship also.”
The target of Eldhose Paul
Eldhose Paul has jumped 17.3 in his third and final jump to win the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games. Looking forward to the Asian Games and world championship, Eldhose said,
“If I can maintain the same performance in Asian Games, I am optimistic about winning a medal. Talking about the World Championship, I need to improve more. For that, I am trying to get some exposure trips next year before March-April, participating in some competitions and gaining experience.”
However, Eldhose mentioned that, practicing with his partners Abdullah Aboobacker (the silver medalist in Commonwealth Games) and Karthik Unnikrishnan help him a lot to improve every day.
“I must have to win a medal in the World Championship next year and then I will set the focus for the Paris Olympics in 2024, “finished off Eldhose Paul.