On the other hand, Triple jumper Donald Makimairaj missed out on a medal by just 3cm.
After a couple of quiet days at the World Athletics U-20 Championships, the Indian contingent ended the event on a high note. Before the penultimate day, India had secured two medals at the event. A bronze medal was secured in the mixed team 4x400m relays, whereas the silver medal was clinched by race walker Amit Khatri.
However, today the Indians put up a spectacular show at the World Athletics U-20 Championships, which included a third medal.
Here is what went down on the day:
Men’s Triple Jump
The day started with Donald Makimairaj, who was India’s sole participant at the men’s triple jump at the World Athletics U-20 Championships. The 19-year-old was exceptional from start to finish. He registered a distance of 15.70m, which propelled him to the third spot. But, with others also improving their distances, he dropped down to the seventh position.
However, Donald showed tremendous fighting spirit, as he broke his own personal best to register a distance of 15.82m. It was a testament to his talent and perseverance, as he came up with his best jump under pressure. It was heartbreaking for the youngster as he missed the podium by just 3cm, finishing the event in fourth spot.
Women’s Long Jump
Next up was the big event of women’s long jump, where Indian starlet Shaili Singh was in action. After topping the qualifiers, the 17-year-old was brimming with confidence to replicate that form in the finals. Shaili was on course to complete a hat-trick of gold medals following Neeraj Chopra and Hima Das’ triumphs in consecutive editions of the World Athletics U-20 Championships.
The youngster, who is being personally trained by Robert Bobby George, started brightly as she was placed third after the first attempt. But, she broke her shackles with a remarkable jump in the third attempt to register a distance of 6.59m, which propelled her into pole position. The effort also resulted in her new personal best. However, after the fourth attempt, the Indian dropped down to the second spot, as Sweden’s Maja Askag registered a distance of 6.60m.
Shaili’s fourth and fifth attempts were ruled out and her penultimate attempt of 6.37m was not good enough for her to regain the gold medal position. Although Shaili Singh clinched the silver medal in the women’s long jump event, she was just 1cm short of winning that elusive gold. But, she can hold her head high, as it was a sensational performance from the Jhansi-based youngster.
Meanwhile, Ankita Dhyani represented India in the women’s 5000m at the World Athletics U-20 Championships. She started really well, leading after the first two laps. She lost some pace in the next few laps, but was still with the leading pack.
But, the youngster failed to keep pace with the leaders as she finished eighth in the event. It was a decent effort from the Indian middle-distance runner, as she gave everything on the field.
Women’s 4x400m relay
Lastly, the Indians wrapped up the World Athletics U-20 Championships action with the women’s 4x400m relays. The quartet of Payal Vohra, Summy, Rajitha Kunja and Priya Mohan gave good accounts of themselves in the finals as they finished fourth. Nigeria clinched the gold medal with Jamaica bagging the silver and Italy taking home the bronze. The Indian women clocked a season-best timing of 3:40.45 and were pretty good.
All in all, the World Athletics U-20 Championships gave the country so many stars to look forward to. India finished in style with a total of three medals, their highest-ever tally at the event. The medal tally speaks volumes of India’s progress in athletics, as the stars of tomorrow will surely prove themselves on a bigger stage in the next few years.