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Anju Bobby George Confident Protege Shaili Singh Can Soon Break Her National Record

By: Sports Desk


Last Updated: August 23, 2021, 10:00 IST

Shaili Singh gave a silver medal performance at the U20 World Athletics Championships. (AFI Photo)

Shaili Singh gave a silver medal performance at the U20 World Athletics Championships. (AFI Photo)

Long jumper Shaili Singh won the silver medal at the U20 World Athletics Championships on Sunday with a best jump of 6.59m.

Long jumper Shaili Singh missed out on a historic gold as she fell short by just 1 cm in the U-20 World Athletics Championships held in Nairobi. The 17-year-old Indian’s personal best effort of 6.59m was not enough for the gold medal as she was pipped by Sweden’s reigning European junior champion Maja Askag on the final day of the championships. Shaili’s previous best was 6.48 metres, but a wind speed of 2.2 metres per second means her best jump on Sunday will not enter in the record books though she finished second. Shaili’s coach Anju is, however, confident that she will only improve from hereon,

“She can improve on the national record. Our main target for Shaili is to help her finish on the podium at the Olympic Games, which is the most valuable thing. If our trainee can win a medal, I will consider it as my own," Anju told Indian Express.

Hailing from Jhansi, Shaili trains in Bengaluru under the tutelage of Anju Bobby George and her husband Robert Bobby George, a high-performance coach with the Sports Authority of India (SAI). She was recruited when she was only 14 years old and had been training there since then.


“She was a rough diamond. To be able to find an athlete with potential is a valuable thing. We knew if we guided her, she would make it big," Anju said.

“She was jumping about 4.50 metres but I could see her competitive spirit. She was running awkwardly but I thought she had potential. When she started training with Robert, it was clear she was very bright when it came to picking up technical advice. If you told her something just once, she had the ability to immediately understand and follow it. Moreover, she was ready to take on the training schedule without any hesitation," Anju added.

Shaili, who is part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme jumps academy, is also blessed with fast-twitch muscles, which helps athletes produce sudden bursts of energy and are ideal for sprinters and jumpers. “It is because of her genes that she has this muscle type," Anju says.

Shaili, who broke her personal best record twice on her way to the silver medal, was leading at the end of the third round, but the 18-year-old Swede overtook her in the fourth round, which proved to be decisive in the end. After the event, Robert Booby George said she had a bit of a technical issue while “landing"; otherwise, she would have won the gold.

“She was weeping (after the event), she knew she could have won the gold. There was a bit of a technical issue while landing, otherwise she could have cleared 6.65m or even 6.70m," said George. “It is the first time she is not winning a gold in any competition. She (Shaili) hates silver and she is the big thing after Neeraj Chopra. She will rule national circuit in the next few years and international circuit after that."

Anju Bobby George had set the national record of 6.83m back in 2004 at the Athens Olympics where she finished fifth; when asked how long Shaili may take to get past his wife Anju Bobby, Robert said, “I think she can do it in three years, in 2024 or even before that.

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first published:August 23, 2021, 10:00 IST
last updated:August 23, 2021, 10:00 IST