His build-up to the Olympics [ Images ] was far from ideal but triple jumper Renjith Maheshwary says that he has left behind the frustrations and is now focussing on at least qualifying for the final round in the London [ Images ] Games if not a podium finish.
Maheshwary was among the three athletes who were asked to prove their fitness, for representing the country at the Olympics, by the Athletics Federation of India [ Images ] after not participating in any competition for the last two months.
Maheshwary qualified for the London Games in April with a jump of 16.85m in the Federation Cup in Patiala. He won gold medals in the two legs of Asian Grand Prix [ Images ] in Thailand in mid May but since then he has not taken part in any competition which led to the AFI asking him to prove his fitness for the London Games.
He did pass the fitness test after he leapt 16.45m with nine strides at his training base at Forli in Italy [ Images ] a few days ago.
"I have passed the fitness test and it's behind me now and I am focussing on the Olympics. I am aiming to at least qualify for the final round in the Olympics," he said.
"I could not give my best in the Beijing [ Images ] Olympics and I want to do well this time. I want to finish in the top six. It will be a big achievement if I do that," said the national record holder.
Maheshwary injured his knee just after the Commonwealth Games [ Images ] in October 2010 where he leapt to his personal best of 17.07m to win a bronze.
He has been struggling to repeat the feat but the national record holder says that he is in fine form.
"I was contemplating surgery after the injury but I am perfectly fit now. Olympics is the biggest platform and I am determined to do my best. I am aiming to cross my personal best of 17.07m. I did 17.20m in practice and that should put me in the final round," he said.
The world's leading jump this season is a 17.63m by world champion American Christian Taylor and an effort of 17.20m should put Maheshwary among top 15 in the IAAF list.
But it will have to be seen whether Maheshwary can better his personal best considering that he has not crossed 17m this year and had crossed 17m only twice in his career since 2004.
Asked why he did not take part in any competition after the Asian Grand Prix in Thailand, Maheshwary said, "It's just two from now that I competed in the Asian Grand Prix. I reached here in Italy last month and have been focussing on my training since then," he said.
The former Asian champion said he is satisfied with the training regime under coach Shivilly Evgeniy and ready for the challenge at the Olympics.
"It's a strict regime of fitness training with gym sessions and outdoor practice. The diet is good here and the facilities are world class. I am satisfied with my preparation," said the 26-year-old Keralite, a fan of Russian world record holder pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva [ Images ].
"She (Isinbayeva) is so confident at every of her effort. Confidence oozes from her and that is why she breaks her own personal record so often. She is my idol," Maheshwary said.
The men's triple jump preliminary round is scheduled for August 7 and Maheshwary will move into the Games Village on August 2.
Photograph: Mark Dadswell / Getty Images