India’s Shaili Singh wins silver in women’s long jump at U20 World Athletics Championships in Nairobi

Shaili Singh, a 17-year-old long jumper from Jhansi, won the silver medal in the Women’s Long Jump at the U20 World Athletics Championships in Nairobi on Sunday. Shaili Singh, who trains at the Anju Bobby George academy in Bengaluru, leapt to a new U20 National Record of 6.59m to take the silver medal.

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

Shaili Singh, who has broken the junior national record on multiple occasions, was at it again on Sunday. Coached by Bobby George, who was overseeing his ward from the stands, Shaili jumped 6.34m in her first two attempts, only to go beyond her previous personal best of 6.48m at the big final on Sunday. Notably, it was Bobby George who coached his wife, Anju to a world championships medal in 2005 in women’s long jump.

Shaili Singh’s jump of 6.59m won’t go down as her personal best, considering the wind assistance in Nairobi during the Women’s Long Jump final. Shaili looked elated when she achieved the mark and led the field in her 3rd attempt. However, she was dejected after her final jump, knowing she was within touching distance of winning a gold medal.

Shaili Singh was leading the competition until Maia Askag, the junior European champion, jumped 6.60m in her 3rd attempt. Shaili was not able to better her best jump of 6.59m in her final three attempts. Notably, Askag had won the women’s triple jump gold at the U20 World Athletics Championships in Nairobi last week.

Marked by Anjou Bobby George as one of the brightest medal prospects for India at major events, 17-year-old Shaili proved her mentor right with a terrific show in Nairobi. Shaili had overcome several personal hurdles to make a mark at the international level. The junior national record holder was raised by a single mother who worked as a tailor.

Shaili’s silver was also India’s 3rd medal at the U20 World Athletics Championships in Nairobi. Earlier in the competition, India’s Amit Khatri won silver in men’s 10km race walk. Khatri clocked 42:17.94s to finish behind host country’s Heristone Wanyoni, who won the gold with a timing of 42:10.84 seconds. India also won a bronze in the 4x400m mixed relay.

There was heartbreak for India’s 4x400m women’s relay team as they came fourth in the final, which was also India’s last event at the U20 World Championships in Nairobi.

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