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Shaili Singh went from training barefoot to winning U-20 World Championships silver

Shaili Singh jumped a distance of 6.59m to clinch the silver medal in long jump at the World U-20 Athletics Championships.

Shaili Singh after winning Silver at the World U-20 Athletics Championship

Shaili Singh (Source: media.iccsai/Instagram)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 25 Aug 2021 7:52 AM GMT

Long jumper Shaili Singh was deemed to shine. And she lives up to her promise as on Sunday she wins the silver medal at the U-20 World Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya. The 17-year-old now jumped a distance of 6.59m to finish second - only 1cm behind Sweden's Askag Maja, at the Kasarani Sports Complex.

Sparks of her glory could be seen earlier on Friday when Shaili jumped at a best of 6.40m and topped the qualification round.

The 17-year-old Shaili considered one of the brightest upcoming stars in Indian athletics, achieved her best of the day in her third and final jump after starting off with a 6.34m in Group B. Her second jump recorded 5.98m. She was one of three long jumpers who secured automatic qualification, set at 6.35m, for the final.

Shaili, who had won the long jump event at the National Senior Inter-State Championships in June with an effort of 6.48m, is the current U-18 world No. 2 and U-20 national record holder. The record was untouched for a span of 21 years. With each passing day, it seems Shaili is competing against herself.
However, nobody seems to be prouder for Shaili today than her coach Robert Bobby George, who is the husband of legendary athlete Anju Bobby George.
In 2017, Robert first saw Shaili at a junior competition, when she was aged 14. He soon roped her into the Anju Bobby Sports Foundation in 2017 and the youngster has been training under the star couple since. The daughter of a tailor, Shaili, did not even have shoes to practice before she was noticed by Robert!

Over the past few years, Shaili has improved leaps and bounds and has been touted as one of the youngsters to watch out for by Anju Bobby George herself in an interaction with The Bridge way back in 2019.

She had even gone to the extent of saying that Shaili would break her national record within four years - something which looks very plausible now with her steady improvement.

Shaili started off the final in a wonderful fashion registering two jumps of 6.34m in her first two attempts, before raising the bar to 6.59 in her third. However, she seemed to have run out of steam as she fouled her next two attempts and jumped 6.37m to clinch the second silver medal for India at the World U-20 Athletics Championships 2021.

What Robert Bobby George saw in Shaili Singh back in 2017, seems to have finally developed into something substantial at least at the junior levels. While, she will now be eager to leave a mark at the senior stage all we can say is get acquainted with the name - Shaili Singh, for you for sure will keep hearing it in the future.

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