(Last Updated on : 22/02/2012)
Long Jump is one of the most popular Athletics events in India. It is also one of the most common of all the Athletics events and is quite easy to play, and as a result this sport is played in most of the annual school meets and also in college sports events. In this Athletic event
, the athletes sprint down the runway and jump as far as they can. They jump off a wooden board and land into a pit filled with finely ground gravel or sand. The jumper, who crosses the longest distance, is declared the winner in this event. There are actually four main section of the long jump: the momentum run, last two crucial strides, take off in the air and then the landing. The fundamentals of success behind the long jump depend, on the run up speed, approach and the height of leap. Since speed is a crucial factor in long run, the professional long jumpers also compete successfully in sprinting. One classic example of a sprinter cum long jumper is Carl Lewis. Going by historical facts the long jump is an old sport which was a part of the Olympic Games right from its inaugural edition in 1896.
In Long Jump, the competitors first sprint down a runway and then make a jump from the takeoff board, behind a foul line. The main objective of the competitors is to cover as much distance as they can. The distance covered by a jumper is often called `mark`, as it is the distance to which the first mark is made on the sand. The mark can be defined as the minimum distance between the edge of the takeoff board near the landing pit, and the first indentation made by the competitor. In case, any part of the competitor`s foot crosses the front part of the takeoff board while jumping, the jump is declared illegal and no distance is recorded. The competitors are allowed to initiate the jump from any point behind the foul line; however, they should remain within the foul line, while making the jump. Usually, the distance is always measured from the foul line.
The event of Long Jump usually has four main components like the approach run, the last two strides, takeoff and action in the air, and landing. The competitors need to increase speed in the run-up, or approach run to gather the momentum, and then make a high leap off the board and then land smoothly to get the highest success. As speed is one of the most important factors in Long Jump, the competitors pay much attention to further increase their running ability. A good sprinter is often a successful long jump athlete as well.
The competitors taking part in Long Jump usually have a set number of attempts to make their longest jump. The officials consider only the longest legal jump of a competitor to determine the winner of the event. In most of the Athletics events in India and in other parts of the world, the competitors have three trial jumps and they have to make their best effort, within these three attempts. In the Higher level competitions, there are two rounds like Trials or Hits and the Finals. In these types of competitions, only a select number of competitors are invited after the Trials or Hits, to return for the Final competition.
In order to be a successful long jumper an athlete has to be physically fit and agile. And in order to attain maximum fitness regular exercise and health checks are essential. For professional athlete a thorough health routine must be followed accompanied by nutritious diet. For athletes, to get maximum power and energy intake of essential protein is of utmost importance.
The Athletics event of Long Jump is quite popular in India, as India has produced quite a few quality long jumpers, so far. Among the famous Indian long jumpers, Anju Bobby George
is definitely the most notable one, as she has earned a lot of recognition and reputation in the international arena. She became the first ever Indian to win World Championship. She also got into the 4th position in the World Ranking of Athletes in Long jump, in 2005.