Shaili Singh came into the spotlight with a brilliant performance at the U20 World Athletics Championships where she won the silver medal in the long jump event. Shaili produced her personal best effort of 6.59m to finish on the second spot and missed the gold medal by just a centimetre. Shaili trains under the mentorship of India’s athletics legend Anju Bobby George, who was a long jumper herself. Anju and her husband Robert identified Shaili as a 14-year-old and have been nurturing the athlete. Anju even went ahead and said that she feels Shaili will break her record.
Shaili was born in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh and has a sister. Her mother Vinita is a single mother and worked as a tailor to put food in herself and her daughters’ stomach.
Shaili Singh Wins Silver Medal in Long Jump at U20 World Athletics Championships
Shaili used to run a lot in her school and she first appeared in a trial in Jhansi and after that in Lucknow at the KD Singh Babu Stadium. From there, she was selected to be a part of the Lucknow sports hostel.
In 2017, Shaili competed in the U-14 long jump competition at the Junior Nationals in Vijaywada and finished fifth with a best jump of 4.64m.
Robert noticed Shaili at the Junior Nationals and spoke to Anju about her. What Robert liked about Shaili was he felt he saw grit and determination in her.
Shaili did not have enough muscle at the time which is why she was left behind, felt Anju and Robert. They first worked at giving her proper nutrition and only then they worked with her on technique.
Initially Anju and Robert were unsure whether Shaili will be willing to travel far away to Bangalore and change cities completely but both the youngster and her mother were very eager and Shaili travelled from Lucknow to Bangalore in an aeroplane for the first time after her mother borrowed money.
Shaili did not have much training before Anju and Robert started working with her and hence, they had a completely fresh athlete to work on. In the last three years, Robert and Anju have worked on developing her basics and her speed and only after she turns 18, they plan to increase her workload.
Just a year of shifting to Bangalore, Shaili broke the under-16 national record at the Junior Nationals in Ranchi in November 2018 with a leap of 5.94m.
Even when Covid disrupted the training of junior athletes, Anju and Robert took Shaili and seven others to their home in Bangalore. They dug a hole in a property and used it as a long jump pit.
Despite an adapted training, Shaili shone at the Junior Nationals this year, breaking the Junior National record with a jump of 6.48m.
Thereafter, she bettered her personal best twice at the U20 World Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya to eventually win the silver medal.