Long jumper Shaili Singh took home the silver medal after missing out on a historic gold medal at the U-20 world championships in Nairobi. The first time India great Anju Bobby George saw Shaili was at the National Junior Championships in Vijaywada in November 2017. The young athlete was participating in the girls' (age group 12-14) long jump event and finished fifth with a 4.64m effort.
Her effort got the attention of Sports Authority of India (SAI) High-performance coach Robert Bobby George.
"When I saw her steely resolve and of course her body structure and muscle suited for long jump, I knew she would go a long way," Anju told PTI in an interview.
Talking about her performance in the world athletics meet, Anju said: "That shows her potential. Robert set a target of 6.60m for her in the U-20 World Championships and she is just 1cm short. That too in her first international competition."
"She has tremendous potential and I am sure she will break it by then (in three years). I will be very happy if she breaks my record," Anju said.
"She is still learning and her techniques are yet to be perfect and that is natural for a 17-year-old. She will make improvements in her technique," added the legend.
Anju, 44-year-old, said that Shaili has a never-say-die attitude and is more or less like her.
Anju, the only Indian to win a World Athletics Championships medal, saw Shaili's potential at the junior championships and decided to mentor her.
"Robert told me about her (Shaili) though she finished at a lower rank (in Vijaywada). Then I myself went (to Visakhapatnam) and noticed that she would go a long way," Anju said.
She decided to bring Shaili under Robert at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru and later the youngster was included in the developmental group of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme which took care of her training and other financial needs.
Sports NGO Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) also supports Shaili.
The athlete from Jhansi, raised by a single mother who worked as a tailor to support her, missed a chance to join the likes of Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and sprinter Hima Das who won gold medals in 2016 and 2018, respectively.