‘It will be a big game changer’, says Anju Bobby George on the new rule in long jump

Anju Bobby George

The former World Championship Bonze medalist Anju Bobby George backs the decision of implementing the new rule of “take-off zone” in long jump. She also said that the new move can be a game-changer in the world of athletics as the jumpers need not worry of the foul, going forward.

Earlier last week, World Athletics revealed a plan to trial a new format of long jump with a take-off zone instead of a take-off board. Under current existing rules, a jumper jumps by takingoff from a 20 cm wide board. But if naypart of the foot touches the take off line, it is deemed as a foul.

However, with the new rule of take off zone, an athlete need not worry about the take off board. The jump will be measured from the final contact point within the take off zone. While the plan to introduce a jump zone has drawn mixed responses from the athlete’s community, the final decision is yet to come and is expected to come later in March.

Proposed new rule in Long Jump
Proposed new rule in Long Jump

Anju Bobby George speaks about the new rule

Speaking to nnis sports at the sidelines of Bharat Sports Science conclave, Anju Bobby George said, “Honestly, I don’t know how to assess the new format. The decision is getting mixed responses from everyone.”

“Some top athletes are saying it is good that all jumps are valid while some are saying that it is a technical event, so it should be kept like that,” she added.

Talking about the change, Anju said,” There have been instances where I have lost my medals due to a small foul or crossing the board. I believe it is a technical event and the precision should be there. I still don’t how it will be perceived.”

“It will be a big game changer as the long jumpers always had the fear of committing the foul while jumping. Athletes can break the world record if they jump without fear. Earlier, the athletes used to slow down their speed fearing the fouls,” said Anju, when asked about the implemantation of new rule.

Opposition for the rule

The Asian and Commonwealth Games Silver medalist Murali Sreeshankar opposed the implementation of the new rule.

“It will affect the beauty of the sport. It is also questioning the skill of athletes. Long jump is a technical event and our aim is to be precise on the take-off board. The purpose of this intervention is to make the sport more interesting to viewers but it is affecting the novelty of the sport. Long jump is all about taking off before a specific line, we have been doing this right from the time we have started training. Now you are telling me ‘you can jump from wherever within the zone and we will measure it’,” Sreeshankar said.

Retired American star Carl Lewis, with four gold medals from four Olympics in the bag, came out strongly against the proposed rule change, in a series of posts on his X account.

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