Wednesday, June 22 2022

Shaili Singh, a 17-year-old long jumper from Jhansi, won the silver medal in the women’s long jump at the World Under-20 Championships in Nairobi on Sunday. Shaili Singh, who trains at Anju Bobby George Academy in Bengaluru, broke a new U20 national record of 6.59m to win the silver medal.

18-year-old Maja Askag of Sweden took the gold with a jump of 6.60m, one centimeter better than the Indian’s effort in a thrilling final.

Shaili Singh, who has broken the national junior record several times, was back on Sunday. Coached by Bobby George, who supervised her ward from the stands, Shaili jumped 6.34m in her first two attempts, to surpass her previous personal best of 6.48m in the grand final on Sunday. Notably, it was Bobby George who coached his wife, Anju, to a world championship medal in 2005 in the women’s long jump.

Shaili Singh’s 6.59m jump will not be her personal best, given the wind assist in Nairobi in the women’s long jump final. Shaili looked elated as she reached the mark and led the field on her 3rd attempt. However, she was dejected after her last jump, knowing she was at a touching distance from winning a gold medal.

Shaili Singh was leading the competition until Maia Askag, the European junior champion, jumped 6.60m on her 3rd attempt. Shaili hasn’t been able to improve on his best 6.59m jump in his last three attempts. Notably, Askag won gold in the women’s triple jump at the World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Nairobi last week.

Marked by Anjou Bobby George as one of India’s brightest medal prospects at major events, 17-year-old Shaili proved her mentor right with a terrific show in Nairobi. Shaili overcame several personal obstacles to stand out internationally. The junior national record holder was bred by a single mother who worked as a tailor.

Shaili’s silver was also India’s 3rd medal at the World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Nairobi. Earlier in the competition, Indian Amit Khatri won silver in the men’s 10k walk. Khatri clocked 42: 17.94 to finish behind host nation Heristone Wanyoni, who won the gold medal with a time of 42: 10.84 seconds. India also won a bronze medal in the mixed 4x400m relay.

The Indian women’s 4x400m relay team were heartbroken as they placed fourth in the final, which was also India’s last event at the World Under-20 Championships in Nairobi.


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