Shaili says she can break her mentor Anju Bobby George’s national record this year

Bhubaneswar, Jun 18 (PTI) She is just 19 and two years into the senior circuit, but Shaili Singh is already India’s number one woman long jumper, and is looking to break her mentor Anju Bobby George’s national record this year.

In April, Shaili jumped 6.76m, the second longest distance by an Indian woman, behind the legendary Anju’s 6.83m, which has stood for 19 years.

Anju herself believes that her protege could erase her national record.

“Anju madam says I can break her record since I am very near to it (7cm short) and she wants that to happen this year. She says I am in that range, and so I feel I can do it,” Shaili said after the women’s long jump qualifying round at the National Inter-State Athletics Championship here on Sunday.

She made it to the final round in third place with a best jump of 6.27m, behind Kerala jumpers Ancy Sojan and Nayana James.

Sojan breached the Asian Games mark of 6.45m with a best effort of 6.49m while James produced 6.31m.

“I lost one month this year while recovering from an injury. I am getting fitter. I feel I can do 6.70m to 6.80m,” said Sojan, whose personal best is 6.56m, when asked what her target distance is.

Shaili said she will try to jump farther in the final on Monday. She has already breached the Asian Games qualifying mark with that 6.76m jump in Bengaluru in April and 6.65m effort while finishing third at the prestigious Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Japan last month.

“I tried to cross 6.45m (Asian Games qualifying mark), but it did not happen. But I am still happy, I will improve in the final.” She said the hot and humid condition at the Kalinga Stadium here is like having a “Sauna Bath ”.

“The conditions are difficult but the target given to me by my coach is to do better than the 6.76m that I had done in Bangalore in April.” She trains at the Anju Bobby George Sports Foundation in Bengaluru under Anju’s husband Robert who is also a high performance coach with the Sports Authority of India.

Source: PTI News


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