Shaili Singh wins long jump silver at World Athletics U20 Championships

Shaili Singh missed the long jump gold medal by a whisker as she bagged the silver at the World Athletics under-20 championships in Nairobi on Sunday.

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

Robert Bobby George and Anju George, who coach and guide Shaili Singh in Bengaluru, expect her to win medals at the Olympics and Worlds in the next few years.

And the 17-year-old from Jhansi, who was raised by a single mother who works as a tailor, offered a glimpse of what she is capable of as she won the women's long jump silver with 6.59m which came with a small wind advantage (+2.2), missing the gold by just one centimetre to Sweden's Maja Askag, at the World Athletics under-20 championships in Nairobi on Sunday evening.

After two mediocre 6.34m jumps, under-18 world No. 2 Shaili produced the big one that carried her to the top of the pack briefly before European champion Askag came up with the 6.60m that would bring her the second gold of the championships after her triple jump triumph earlier.

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Shaili’s silver is the first long jump medal at the under-20 Worlds while Anju’s 2003 Worlds long jump bronze is India’s lone medal at the ‘senior’ Worlds.

“Shaili was brilliant. Of course, gold would have been prettier,” her coach Bobby George told Sportstar from Nairobi. “She was capable of even 6.65 or 6.70 this evening.”

Personal best

Donald Magimairaj missed the bronze by three centimetres as he came up with a personal best 15.82 for the fourth place in men’s triple jump, which was won by Sweden’s Gabriel Wallmark with 16.43.

The Indian women’s 4x400m relay team, comprising Payal Vohra, Summy, Rajitha Kunja and Priya H. Mohan, also finished fourth, clocking a season-best 3:40.45.

In the women’s 5000m, Ankita was eighth in 17:17.68 with Ethiopia’s Mizan Alem pocketing the gold in 16:05.61.

Best finish

India finished with three medals (2 silver and a bronze) in the five-day meet for its best-ever finish at any World championship. Host Kenya topped the table with 16 medals, including eight gold medals.

Records

South Africa men (38.51) and Jamaica women (42.94) broke the under-20 world records while winning the men’s and women’s 4x100m relay while Botswana men (3:05.22) and Nigeria women (3:31.46) won the 4x400m relay titles with world-leading performances.

Kenya’s Emmanuel Wanyonyi (men’s 800m, 1:432.76), Purity Chepkirui (women’s 1500m, 4:16.07), Amos Serem (men’s 3000m steeplechase, 8:30.72), Finland’s Heidi Salminen (women’s 400m hurdles, 56.94), Turkey’s Berke Akcam (men’s 400m hurdles, 49.38), neutral athlete Natalya Spiridonova (women’s high jump, 1.91) and Lithuania’s Mykolas Alekna (men’s discus, 69.81) were some of the other gold medallists on the final day.

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