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India’s promising long jumper Shaili Singh to focus on Commonwealth Games, says athletics expert Robert Bobby George

Shaili Singh during practice. File picture. Photo credit Robert Bobby George
Shaili Singh during practice. File picture. Photo credit Robert Bobby George

India’s World U20 silver medalist in women’s long jump, Shaili Singh's main focus this year will be the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. This is so as the Hangzhou Asian Games have been postponed due to the COVID pandemic, her coach Robert Bobby George has said.

“The plan is to skip the 2022 World U20 Championships in August this year and instead focus on the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. We want to explore new territory this year and the best option is to compete at the Commonwealth Games starting July 28.”

At the 2021 World U20 Athletics Championships held in Kenya, the 18-year-old Indian long jumper won silver with a jump of 6.59m.

Shaili Singh's minor injury

After an excellent run in 2021, the athlete and her chalked out their preparations for the 2022 season. As she was gearing up for them, a stiff back hampered her progress in March. However, as per Robert Bobby George, she is back to full fitness.

“Shaili has recovered from the niggle. She has started her normal practice. She is fit. Getting a good rhythm is the main focus during practice these days.”

According to George, Shaili will compete at next month’s National Inter-State Athletics Championships in Chennai, scheduled to start on June 10.

“We are working on the option to give Shaili exposure during the fourth leg of the Indian Grand Prix in Thiruvananthapuram on May 21."

"There is no magic wand..." - Robert Bobby George

George has vast coaching experience. He traveled widely across the globe when his wife Anju Bobby George, a bronze medalist at the 2003 Paris World Athletics Championships, was an active athlete in early 2000s.

With a jump of 6.83m, Anju finished fifth at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. It was her personal best and a national record.

According to George, there are no plans to push Shaili Singh hard this season. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons the Eugene World Athletics Championships in July doesn’t fit into the scheme of things.

George also emphasized that there is no "magic wand" to get Shaili Singh to suddenly reach the qualification mark for the World Athletics Championships.

“There is no magic wand to achieve a qualification standard of 6.82m for the 2022 World Athletics Championships in a short period of time."

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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