Ultimate Test For Any Athlete-Bobby Aloysius
To me, the Olympics is the ultimate test for any athlete and I spend two years meticulously training abroad for it. But I was realistic as there wasn’t even a remote possibility of my winning a medal in high jump.
But I had set myself a couple of specific targets — to at least enter the final, and to better my national record — at Athens.
I was terribly disappointed that I could achieve neither of those goals.
Though, I had cleared 1.91m in the inter-State meet in Chennai to qualify for the Olympics, I was unable to reach anywhere near my personal best in Athens — I could jump only 1.85m.
In hindsight, I could have done better had my schedule been planned better.
As at the previous Olympics, the Indian contingent arrived in batches, and I came to Athens straight from London where I was training. I had to run around to get tickets for my English coach and there was no one to help me.
Moreover, I had the first feel of the track only a few minutes before my competition, and when I stepped into the stadium for my event, I was overwhelmed by the occasion.
The field was tough as I knew there were several jumpers who had recorded better heights than me.
In India during competitions I do five or six jumps, starting from 1.75m, gradually increasing the height by three cms each time.
But in Athens because of the quality of competition, the height was being raised by 5cms. I started off well, clearing 1.75m and 1.80m on first attempts.
I cleared 1.85m on my second attempt and then the bar was raised to 1.89m, which was near my personal best.
Normally I attempt 1.87m after clearing 1.85m, but here I was left with no option but to try and clear 1.89m — I failed thrice.
It was a disappointing end to my Olympic sojourn but Athens, where the modern Olympic Games began in 1896, will remain evergreen in my mind.