Indian legendary long jumper Anju Bobby George recently claimed that her husband’s student, Shaili Singh will soon break her national record of 6.83 metres. The 17-year-old long jumper from Jhansi currently trains under Robert Bobby George and is a product of the Anju Bobby George Foundation.
The youngster gave an account of her talent when she bagged the silver medal in the long jump at the World Athletics U20 Championships. She missed the gold medal only by a whisker after she registered a distance of 6.59m in her third attempt at the finals. She finished one centimetre behind Sweden’s Maja Askag came up with a 6.60m distance.
Shaili’s personal best is 6.48m and technically she broke her personal record but a wind speed of 2.2 metres per second means that her best jump in the finals won be registered as her best distance despite bagging the silver medal.
“She can improve on the national record. Our main target for Shaili is to help her finish on the podium at the Olympic Games, which is the most valuable thing. If our trainee can win a medal, I will consider it as my own,” Anju told The Indian Express in an interaction after Shaili bagged the silver medal.
The youngster was scouted early on at the age of 14 and was given formal coaching than Anju. The early start and coaching meant that she could iron out all technical faults in her jumps which are difficult to correct if you receive coaching later like Anju.
“I was able to achieve whatever I could because of Robert. I had a taped leg and only one kidney. So if you look at it, Shaili has great potential,” Anju added.
The husband-wife duo spotted Shaili at the Inter-District Junior Championships in Visakhapatnam and they were sure of her natural talent. Anju revealed that she knew that the young girl had the potential to win multiple medals with one look at her in Visakhapatnam.
“She was a rough diamond. To be able to find an athlete with potential is a valuable thing. We knew if we guided her, she would make it big,” Anju says.
The Bronze medallist at the World Championships pointed out Shaili’s ability to catch up on things fast and also her positive mindset helped her improve.
She was jumping about 4.50 metres but I could see her competitive spirit. She was running awkwardly but I thought she had potential. When she started training with Robert, it was clear she was very bright when it came to picking up technical advice. If you told her something just once, she had the ability to immediately understand and follow it. Moreover, she was ready to take on the training schedule without any hesitation,” Anju concluded.