On Sunday, at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi, a 17-year-old young athlete from Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh Shaili Singh wins silver in the long jump, she missed gold by just one centimeter. She made the nation proud and became the new queen of Jhansi.
The 17-year-old girl faced a lot of challenges to reach this level. She was raised by a single parent and her life was not easy as told by her. However, the young athlete missed out on scripting history by a mere 1 cm.
“It was a tough battle for my mother in the beginning. She had to raise three kids as a single parent. But all credit to her, she worked hard to support us. She is very strong,” Shaili said. “My mom convinced me before the final saying ‘Nothing wrong will happen and you’ll win the gold.”
However, a protege of legendary long jumper Anju Bobby George, Shaili was leading at the end of the third round but the 18-year-old Swede overtook her in the fourth round by a mere 1 cm, which proved to be decisive in the end. Mariia Horielova of Ukraine took the bronze with a best jump of 6.50m.
“I could have jumped farther than the 6.59m and won the gold. My mother had told me about winning gold and the national anthem being sung in the stadium (but I could not do it),” an emotional Shaili said after the race.
“I am just 17, I want gold in the next U20 World Championships (in Cali, Colombia). There is also Asian Games and Commonwealth Games next year and I want to do well in those events.”
Shaili’s mother told her, “Don’t be tensed, it will all fall in place as (coach Robert Bobby George) sir is with you, ” Shaili said after winning silver, “Don’t worry mom I will improve next time and win gold” said the athlete in a virtual interaction.
The 17-year-old, who trains at the Anju Bobby Foundation in Bengaluru, went into the title round as a favorite to win the gold but in the end, her best of 6.59m, 11cm better than her personal best that came in her third attempt, won her the second spot behind Sweden’s Maja Askag who touched down at 6.60m to complete a grand double of the long and triple jump. Maria Horielova won bronze. Even if the Indian had touched 6.60m, the Swede would have ended on top as he was better on countback.
Meanwhile, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 gold winner from India Neeraj Chopra was proud of the young and talented girl. He congratulated Shaili and praised her for all her efforts.
Anurag Thakur also took to twitter and congratulated the champion.