U20 World Athletics Championship: Shaili Singh Wins Silver in Women’s Long Jump

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17-year-old Shaili Singh won a silver medal in the Women’s long jump at the U20 World Athletics Championships in Nairobi on Sunday. She became India’s first medalist in the long jump with a length of 6.59 meters, missing gold by a mere one centimeter.

Shaili Singh trains at the Anju Bobby George academy in Bengaluru and sets a new U20 National Record of 6.59m to take the silver medal.

Shaili jumped to her personal best of 6.59 meters in her third jump and moved into interim first place after dropping to fourth at the end of the second round.

However, in the fourth round, Sweden’s European Junior Champion Maja Askag beat Shaili by the narrowest margins to eventually win the gold.

Shaili Singh’s victory was the third medal for India in the U20 World Athletics Championships in Nairobi, after the bronze won by the Mixed Team in the 4x400m relay and the silver by Amit Khatri in the men’s 10,000m Race Walk.

Long Jumper Shaili Singh

Shaili Singh is from Uttar Pradesh and was spotted by Anju Bobby George, a former senior world championship medallist in the long jump.

She trains under the legendary long jump Anju Bobby George and her husband Robert at the SAI campus in Bengaluru.

Anju Bobby George herself had won the only other long jump medal at a global event for India in Paris in 2003. Coach Robert said that Shaili had a few technical issues while landing and could have easily secured the gold medal.

“She was weeping (after the event); she knew she could have won the gold. There was a minor technical issue while landing; otherwise, she could have cleared 6.65m or even 6.70m,” George said.

Shaili’s journey from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh to a World Champion in Nairobi has been filled with several ups and downs. As a young girl, Shaili ran without shoes but yet competed in school-level competitions.

Shaili was raised by a single mother, and her family found it hard to put three square meals on the table. Mother Vinita is an ardent fan of Shaili and is the first person Shaili calls to update the outcome.

“My mother told me not to worry before the final. She always expected me to win gold. I will win the gold medal next time. I wanted my mother to hear the National Anthem being played at the stadium. Being a single mother, it was difficult for her, but my mother looked after me, my sister, and my brother”, said Shaili.

Shaili is the first in her family to take up sports, and she thanks her mother for encouraging her to pursue Athletics, even though the family wasn’t well off financially.

It was mother Vinita who alerted Shaili about selection trials being held after seeing a newspaper advertisement.

Shaili was in the Lucknow Sports Hostel, but she first caught Robert’s eye at the National Junior Athletics Championships in Vijayawada in 2017. Within a week, she also caught Anju’s attention at the Inter-District Junior Championships.

The couple finally agreed they had found an athlete with the potential to create history in athletics for India.

Anju says that “She was a rough diamond. It is a valuable thing to be able to find an athlete like this. We knew if we guided her, she would make it big”. 

Robert added that “She usually meets my targets. However, I know that she is capable of much bigger things. She is a teen athlete, but she has the spirit of an adult.

I can guarantee that she will rule the athletics circuit in the next ten years. It was her first international competition, and she won silver at the world championships, and I am glad about it”.

Isha Saha
Isha Saha
A Journalism student from Christ University. Passionate about telling stories of common people. Also passionate about photography and Documentary making. News writting and Journalism to me is more of a responsibility rather than a profession. I consider Writting as one of the greatest medium if expressing ones own thought. Journalism is tge fourth pillar of Democracy and i am determined to be a keen obserber in the society and question the people in power. As news writer and an Aspiring Journalism, keeping free of any political inclinations is extremely crucual to me. I consider Learning to be a life long experience and I am always ready and eager to learn new things.

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