JUMPING FOR JOY
“You can try.” said my friend Abdul to me. I was hesitant. For, I had only come to watch other boys practice Triple Jump (Hop Step and Jump). And I felt that it was not my cup of tea.
I was fifteen then; and a student of S.S.C. By then I was selected for the school cricket team of which Abdul was a star all rounder. But athletics was something that I didn’t participate till then. Yet on Abdul’s insistence I decided to give it a try.
Initially, I was clumsy. But once I got the hang of it , I went on improving and at 37 Ft. I was only second to Abdul in our school. Then at school sports meet, I secured silver both in Triple Jump and Long Jump. I was selected along with Abdul to represent our school at the Taluq level inter school athletics contest.
At the inter school meet, the unthinkable happened at the Triple Jump event. In my very first attempt, my step that followed the initial hop fell into the sand-pit and the final jump ended beyond the pit. The organizers of the meet got into a tizzy. After much debate, It was decided to give me exclusive jumps with the starting line a couple of feet behind the one that was provided for others! I finished with Gold jumping 41 Ft. 3 In. And I won Silver at Long Jump event, Abdul got Bronze in both events.
Around the same time, our school won the inter-school cricket finals and my contribution with the ball played a crucial role in the victory.
The reports of the athletics as well as the cricket match appeared in the Indian Express. The following two lines contained in the reports gave me the kicks:
‘……………….. Triple Jump: J. Shenoy (gold) — 41 feet 3 inches.”
‘……………….. Bowling analysis: J. Shenoy — 6 for17.”
The newspaper clippings still adorn my scrap book to this day.