Eugene (US): National record holder high jumper Tejaswin Shankar, who has decided to skip the upcoming Asian Games citing a strained neck, today won gold in the United States' National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Track and Field Championships here.
The 19-year-old Delhi athlete Tejaswin, who holds the national record of 2.28m, cleared 2.24m to win the American Inter-University (NCAA) title.
He became only the third Indian to win the NCAA title after Mohinder Singh Gill, who won five titles from 1969 to 1971 in the triple jump, and discus thrower Vikas Gowda (in 2006), who recently quit the sport.
Tejaswin, who was representing Kansas State University, was the fifth freshman to win the national championship in high jump. He is studying business administration at the University on a four-year scholarship.
Tejaswin took just one attempt each in clearing 2.08m, 2.13m, 2.18m and 2.21m.
There were four jumpers who cleared 2.21m and the bar was raised to 2.24m.
Tejaswin was unsuccessful in his first two attempts to clear 2.24m but eventually succeeded in his third and final attempt, celebrating the win by thumping his chest.
After securing the gold, he went for 2.30m but failed in all his three attempts.
This win came after Tejaswin informed the Athletics Federation of India about his decision to pull out of the Asian Games to avoid any career-threatening injury.
In his letter to the AFI earlier this month, Tejaswin had cited "tightness" on his neck as the reason to not compete at the Asian Games.
Speaking to the media after winning the gold, Tejaswin said, "I was really looking forward to this, so I'll probably go to Disneyland.
I'll probably go there and spend a couple of weeks and then get back to my summer training.
?I don't want this situation to arise next year, where I'm in a tie with three people. I really want to put out a big mark next year so that I can be an outright winner," he said.