MONACO: Commonwealth Games silver medallist long jumper Murali Sreeshankar finished sixth in his debut Diamond League meeting here with a below-par 7.94m effort.
Six days after winning a historic silver at the Birmingham CWG, Sreeshankar competed in his much-anticipated maiden Diamond League but was far from his best in a strong field under conditions not very ideal for jumping on Wednesday night.
Most of the 10 jumpers faced headwind of above 1m/s in the first round but it got better as the competition progressed.
Sreeshankar had won silver in the CWG six days ago with a best jump of 8.08m. He has a season's and personal best of 8.36m.
He had finished seventh in the World Championships in Eugene, USA, last month with a best jump of 7.96m.
The 23-year-old opened with a 7.61m under a 1.5m/s headwind. He bettered it to 7.84m and then followed it by 7.83m.
From sixth in the first round, he slipped to eight after the third and just about squeezed into the top eight to save himself from elimination.
Sreeshankar had 7.69m in his fourth attempt and 7.94m in his fifth to leave him at the sixth spot.
Under the revised 'Final Three' rule of the Diamond League, only the top three get the sixth and last attempt.
Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Maykel Masso of Cuba won the event with a best effort of 8.35m.
World Championships silver medallist and reigning Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece (8.31m) finished second ahead of Marquis Dendy (8.31m) of USA though both had identical best jumps. Tentoglou had two 8.30m jumps as his second best while Dendy had 8.30m and 8.17m as second and third best jumps.
The 2019 World Championships gold medallist Tajay Gayle of Jamaica was fourth with a best of 8.06m while world indoor silver medallist Thobias Montler of Sweden was fifth with a best effort of 7.96m.
Sreeshankar's next event could be in Lausanne, Switzerland as he has said he has entered his name for World Athletics Tour silver label event there on August 30.
He collected three Diamond League points to be at 10th in the qualification ranking for the final in Zurich on September 7-8. He will not make the season-ending finale as only the top six qualify for it and there is no men's long jump event in the remaining two legs in Lausanne (August 26) and Brussels (September 2).
Tentoglou is at the top of the Diamond League rankings with 31 points, followed by Masso (20) and Montler (16).
A new Diamond League format for jumps and throws was approved in December, following outrage from the athletes regarding the controversial 'Final Three' -- winner-takes-all last round -- format.
Under the new format, the best throw or jump from the entire competition, not just the final three, win the event. But only the top three competitors after the fifth round will get the sixth and final attempt.
Moreover, the best throwers/jumpers are seeded to perform at the start of each round.
After round 3, only the top eight will remain in the competition and the order of jumps will be redrawn with the best performing athlete starting first in the next two rounds (rounds 4 and 5).
After round 5, the top three athletes get one additional attempt each. The order of the three remaining athletes is redrawn so that the best-placed athlete after round five goes first in the 'Final 3'.
There will be a two-minute break from the end of round five to the start of the final 3. Any 'live'' field and track events will be stopped for the duration of a 'Final 3' competition.
The old format did not consider marks achieved in the previous five attempts, with the top three athletes going into a fresh competition in the sixth and final round to pick the champion.
In the men's long jump event at the 2020 Stockholm Diamond League, Montler was leading after five rounds with 8.13m but South African Samaai Ruswahl took the gold with a last round jump of 8.09m.