GERMAN-based high jumper Nauraj Singh Randhawa (pic) shares his thoughts after finishing last in the Commonwealth Games.
Q: Naturally, you were disappointed and emotional about it. Your thoughts?
A: It’s hard to accept when I entered the Games knowing I had a good chance to finish on the podium. And it was harder as I was held back by an ankle pain. I’ve been progressing since my first Games in Glasgow in 2014 and I trained very hard for this edition. But unfortunately, the injury made it tough for me.
Q: Can you tell us more about your ankle situation?
A: I’ve been managing my ankle and heel injury before the SEA Games. As a competitive athlete, my body was never completely free from any sort of pain. Only this time, it had to do with the ankle of my jumping leg. I did not have enough time to rest and let the injury heal completely. I had to compete to get into rhythm and ended up stressing my joint, and it flared up at the World Championships (in Oregon) and got worse in the Commonwealth Games. After Oregon, I was instructed to do a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and it was confirmed that I had a bone bruise on my heel. I did physio and was given the green light for Birmingham.
Q: Who has been monitoring your injury issue?
A: The National Sports Institute (NSI) are well aware of my injury, as well as the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) and head coaches. The NSI head doctor gave me painkillers, so the parties who are supposed to know about my condition are well aware. I’ve been funding my own training in Germany. As a representative of the country, I only wish to be protected and supported as one of the athletes under the national programme.
Q: Would you consider returning home to Malaysia to train?
A: I’ve not been training in Malaysia since 2015. I’ve been in Australia before Germany and have only been jumping well since I went overseas. I left in 2015 after my coach from Uzbekistan left Malaysia. I was left without a coach, and I had to seek coaches from abroad and that helped me improve tremendously. Last year, I jumped 2.27m twice. That is my third highest mark ever. I also set a national indoor record twice early this year. Since Covid-19 hit, there had been close to no opportunities for me to improve other than going to Europe. All Asian meets had been cancelled or postponed for the last two years, so I had to move abroad. I believe my performances should speak for themselves, and I should not be judged when I’m not at my best due to an injury.
Q: What’s next ?
A: My priority now is to improve my health and heal my ankle. Just keep doing what I’ve been doing. I must also learn from this experience and strive to bring out the best in me.