Shaili Singh enters long jump final in World Athletics U20 Championships

Shaili Singh has qualified for the final of Women's Long Jump in World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi. Shaili's best of 6.40m in Qualification surpassed automatic Qualification mark of 6.35m. 

Long jumper Shaili Singh at a training session in Nairobi.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Shaili Singh, one of country's brightest prospects for the 2024 Paris Olympics, entered the women's long jump final after topping the qualification round with 6.40m at the World Athletics under-20 championships in Nairobi on Friday.

The 17-year-old from Jhansi, who is coached by Robert Bobby George at the Anju Bobby Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru, opened with a 6.34 jump which narrowly missed the automatic qualification mark of 6.35m and produced her best in the last round. Sweden's under-20 European champion Maja Askag, who won the triple jump gold with 13.75m today, was second overall after the qualification round with 6.39 and will be Shaili's biggest challenger in Sunday's final.

While Shaili was flying high, another medal hope Kunwer Ajai Raj Singh Rana finished fifth in the men's javelin throw final with 73.68m while his teammate Jay Shah was sixth with 70.74.

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Ajai, fifth after the first three rounds, briefly raised hopes with his fourth round effort – his best in the final – which carried him to the third spot before dropping down. The Punjab youngster, who had won the 2018 Youth Olympic Games Asian qualification meet in Bangkok, has a personal best of 74.75m which came while winning the under-20 Federation Cup early this month. Finland's Janne Laspa won the gold with 76.46m.

Meanwhile Nandini Asagara was sixth in her women's 100m hurdles semifinal in 14.16s and failed to qualify for the final. She was 19 overall. She had clocked 14.18 in the morning's first round.

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And in the men's 110m hurdles, Tejas Shirse was fifth in the heat in 13.87s and crashed out.

Pooja was far away from her personal best (4:19.58s) in the women's 1500m heat clocking 4:37.85 to finish 11 in her group and 19 overall and failed to enter the final while Sunil Joliya was also 11 in his men's 3000m steeple chase heat (22 overall) with 9:49.23s and also missed the final.

Shanmuga Srinivas was also below his personal best (21.03s) in the men's 200m first round clocking 21.33 for the fifth spot in his heat (23 overall) and made his exit.

Frenchman Erwan Konate (long jump, world-leading 8.12m), Belarus' Matvei Volkov (men's pole vault, 5.45m), Czech Republic's Jan Dolezalek (men's hammer throw, 77.83m), host Kenya's Jackline Chepkoech (women's 3000m steeple chase, 9:27.40s) and neutral athlete Violetta Ignatyeva (women's discus, 57.84m, born in Russia) won the other golds on Friday.

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