The prestigious competition will take place in Kenya between August 18-22.
The World Athletics U-20 Championships 2021 will begin on August 18 and go on till August 22 in Nairobi, Kenya. Originally, it was scheduled to begin on August 17 but has been postponed by a day. This competition works as the perfect springboard for several star athletes of the future.
India’s athletics poster boy Neeraj Chopra had won the gold medal at the 2016 World Athletics U-20 Championships. Ace sprinter Hima Das had claimed the top honour in the 400m race at the 2018 edition. This time around, several promising Indian athletes will take part in the competition. A 28-member Indian contingent will compete at the 2021 World Athletics U-20 Championships.
Let’s take a look at some of the brightest Indian talents to watch out for at the 2021 World Athletics U-20 Championships.
5. Amit Khatri – 10km race walk
As many as six Indian athletes had qualified for the race walk events at the Tokyo Olympics. This is an event in which Indians are beginning to show promise on the global stage. Sandeep Kumar and Priyanka Goswami had made blistering starts at the Tokyo Olympics much to everyone’s surprise. Although they were unable to continue the same rhythm, their performances are a sign that better things could come in the future.
One of India’s most talented race walkers is Amit Khatri. The boy from Haryana rewrote the history books earlier in 2021 as he broke the national U-20 record at the National Federation Cup. He clocked 40:40.97 seconds, winning by nearly half a minute from his nearest challenger. Khatri smashed the National Record of 40:47.78 set by Akshdeep Singh in 2018.
Khatri made his presence felt for the first time in 2018 when he claimed the U-16 5000m Race Walk National Record. He showed his versatility in the same event by winning the U-20 10000m race in the National Open Race Walking Championship on Ranchi roads. Therefore, Amit Khatri is expected to shine at the World Athletics U-20 Championships as he gets set to display his talents on the global stage.
4. Anu Kumar – 800m
Anu Kumar shot to fame after winning the gold medal at the 2018 Junior Asian Athletics Championships. The Uttarakhand-based middle-distance runner clocked 1:54.11 to get the better of Iran’s Abdolrahim Dorzadeh, who clocked at 1:54.23.
The gold was the biggest achievement for Kumar who is one of the brightest prospects in middle distance running in India. He had earlier won a silver medal in the 800m at the World School Games in France and a gold medal at the Junior Federation Cup. With the continental title in his pocket, he harboured dreams of making it big on the circuit. However, the 18-year-old’s luck took a sudden dive. A shattered ankle, a harsh lockdown, and his father’s demise followed his on-track success.
Making his comeback, Kumar clinched the silver medal at the National Inter-State Athletics Championships ahead of reigning Asian Games champion Manjit Singh. Now he will compete at his first international competition since winning the continental title when he takes to the track at the World Athletics U-20 Championships in Nairobi.
3. Kunwer Ajai Raj Singh Rana – Javelin Throw
Kunwer Ajai Raj Singh Rana qualified for the World Athletics U-20 Championships after winning the gold medal in the javelin throw event in the Junior National Federation Cup. The 19-year-old touched his personal best of 74.75m.
Rana’s progress over the last few years has been phenomenal. He finished in the sixth spot in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. The talented javelin thrower is a Khelo India and Under-17 School Games record holder. Hailing from the Kiratpur Sahib in the Rupnagar district of Punjab, Rana is currently World No. 3.
Javelin throw has won lots of acclaim from Indian sports lovers in the recent times. Kunwer Ajai Raj Singh Rana is the newest kid on the block and is now expected to follow in the footsteps of Neeraj Chopra.
2. Priya Mohan – 400m & 4x400m relay
The country’s fastest woman quarter-miler this season had missed out on a spot for the Tokyo Olympics relay squad. Priya Mohan won the 400m title during the National Senior Inter-State Athletics Championships held in July at Patiala. She had clocked a timing of 53.29 seconds.
Only six U-20 athletes in the world have recorded better timings than her this season. Priya Mohan is one of the most talented track athletes of India currently. The 18-year-old has given stiff competition to even the senior athletes of the country. The Karnataka-based athlete will now compete alongside the best young athletes in the world.
1. Shaili Singh – Long jump
Long jumper Shaili Singh is a genuine medal contender at the World Athletics U-21 Championships. Aged just 17, Singh is already primed for greater things in the near future.
She achieved a personal best jump of 6.48m at the National Senior Inter-State Athletics Championships earlier in 2021. That mark set a new U-20 national record. In fact, it is the fourth-best distance in the world among U-20 long jumpers this season.
Shaili Singh trains under the watchful eyes of the legendary Anju Bobby George and her husband Robert Bobby George. The teenager belongs to Jhansi, a city associated with a warrior mentality. She will now aim to enhance her reputation by delivering a memorable performance at her maiden international competition.
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