Women who inspire us: Shaili Singh

Shaili Singh, 15, has been making rapid strides in long jump for India. Many are already tipping her to be the next Anju Bobby George.

Long jumper Shaili Singh.

Since impressing at the Junior Nationals in 2017, 15-year-old long jumper Shaili Singh has made significant strides in the sport, with many already tipping her to be the next Anju Bobby George.

The teenager from Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, set a national record by jumping 5.94m at the Junior Nationals in Ranchi in 2018. In November, Shaili broke her own national record in the Under-16 category after she jumped 6.15m at the Junior Nationals in Guntur in November. In fact, the national record mark placed her 19th in the world, in the Under-18 rankings.

Besides winning the gold, Shaili also qualified for the World Junior Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, later in the year. Moreover, at just 15, she bettered the qualifying mark for the 2020 IAAF World U-20 Championships.


'Mentally strong'

It was at the Junior Nationals in Vijayawada in 2017, when she finished fifth with 4.64m in the U-14 girls’ category, where she made an impact. Despite not finishing on the podium, she caught the attention of Robert Bobby George, who was impressed by the manner in which she went about her jumps. Anju’s coach-cum-husband was keen to take her under his wings.

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It was not long before she was chosen for the Anju Bobby Sports Foundation at Bengaluru. “I think Shaili has the capacity to go as far as Anju. But to do well at the international level, it may take five to six years of continuous training,” says Bobby. “She is 1.69m tall and though young, she is mentally very strong. She has clarity about everything.”

The 15-year-old is also supported by Olympic Gold Quest.