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Athletics

Who is Shaili Singh? Why the long jumper is a medal hope at U-20 World Athletics Championships?

Long jumper Shaili Singh, a mentee of Anju Bobby George and her husband, is going to face a litmus test on Friday at U-20 World Athletics Championships.

Shaili Singh
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Long jumper Shaili Singh in action during an event. (FILE PHOTO: AFI)

By

Md Imtiaz

Updated: 20 Aug 2021 6:00 AM GMT

Long jumper Shaili Singh is going to face her hardest litmus test on Friday when she sets her feet on the track of World Athletics under-20 championships in Nairobi.

Deemed as a prodigy in Indian athletics, the 17-year-old jumper will have to leap at least 6.35m or finish among the top-12 performers among the women long jumpers today in the qualifying rounds to advance to the finals.
Singh is the under-18 World No. 2 this year and the under-20 Indian record holder, and the National champion in the women's section. Trained under the wings of Anju Bobby George and her husband Robert Bobby George, Singh jumped a distance of 6.48m and rose to the world number 1 position in under-18 for the 2021 season in June.
The Jhansi-born athlete was raised by a single mother who worked as a tailor. Despite struggling with financial woes, Baliyan grew leaps and bound after she joined the Anju Bobby Sports Foundation in 2017 as a 14-year-old.
Shaili has broken the junior national record multiple times. Her under-18 national record jump of 6.15m back in the year 2019 was way higher than the qualification standard set for the IAAF Under-20 Championship in 2020. Shaili Singh is even supported by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) through the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
A confident Shaili will eye a historic performance at the U-20 World Championships, where India has seen a steady flow of success since Neeraj Chopra's Gold medal in 2016, followed by Hima Das' gold in 2018.
India has already clinched a bronze medal at this year's Championships, when the Mixed Relay 4x400m team - the quartet of Bharat S, Priya Mohan, Summy & Kapil clocked 3:20.60 seconds to finish 3rd on Wednesday.
Shaili Singh has some extremely experienced people to guide her, but she will have to carve her own path like all the athletes in the world. She has enormous potential and has time and again proven it. Now, it is about time that she starts converting it into some consistent performances against the best in the world.
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