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Rising long jumper Shaili Singh aims for Asian Games gold

Shaili Singh aims to win a gold medal in the upcoming Asian Games.

Shaili Singh

Shaili Singh (AFI)



Updated: 17 Jun 2023 7:12 AM GMT

Touted as the heir apparent to the legendary Anju Bobby George, 19-year-old promising long jumper Shaili Singh aims to win a gold medal in the upcoming Asian Games, which will be the biggest achievement of her fledgling career.

Shaili, who recently won her maiden global medal -- a bronze -- at the prestigious Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Japan, is currently the Asian leader (No. 17 in the world this season) on the basis of her 6.76m jump at the Indian Grand Prix in Bengaluru in April. That effort was also the second-longest jump by an Indian woman, just behind her mentor Anju Bobby George's 19-year-old national record of 6.83m.

"I and my coach are preparing for a gold (in the Asian Games). We are ready for that. We are working hard to reach a level of performance to achieve that," Shaili told PTI on Saturday.

"After that win (in Japan), I was not well. But, I am now at my best. I have done well in the Indian Grand Prix as well as in Japan, so I am confident that I will do my best everywhere," she said ahead of her event on Sunday in the National Inter-State Championship.

In the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, the gold-medal winner had jumped 6.55m, while India's Neena Varakil had clinched silver with an effort of 6.51m.

Shaili trains under Anju's husband Robert, who is also a high-performance coach at the Sports Authority of India's National Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru.

Shaili, representing Uttar Pradesh, will be up against Varakil and other more experienced jumpers like Ancy Sojan and Nayana James in the National Inter-State Championship.

"Competition with seniors gives you confidence in a way but at the same time makes you nervous. It will be good for me and I will enjoy it."

Shaili will be competing in the Asian Championships in Thailand from July 12 to 16. She is also in the reckoning for the World Championships (August 19-27) in Budapest, Hungary.

Though she is yet to breach the 6.85m automatic qualification mark for the World Championships, Shaili can make it to the global showpiece's long jump event -- where 36 athletes will compete -- through the world ranking quota. She is currently at 35th spot in the Road to Budapest chart prepared by World Athletics.

"I am competing at the Asian Championships this month, then the World Championships in August and the Asian Games after that. I am preparing for these three major events."

Asked about the humid weather here, she said, "In Bangalore, I trained in all types of weather, so I have acclimatised in all sorts of weather. I don't see any problem because of this weather. Last year, I suffered a back injury and because of that I lost many months. The comeback was difficult last year. I am now completely fit and ready for competition."

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