Jumpers Shaili and Eldhose shocked as WA marks Slovakia’s Jumps Fest results as ‘uncertified’

AFI president Sumariwalla writes to the governing body about the issue

Published - June 21, 2024 08:51 pm IST - KOCHI:

Shaili Singh with Italy’s Olympic high jump champion Gianmarco Tamberi in Slovakia.

Shaili Singh with Italy’s Olympic high jump champion Gianmarco Tamberi in Slovakia. | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Shaili with coach Robert Bobby George in Slovakia.

Shaili with coach Robert Bobby George in Slovakia. | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The setting was inspiring, right next to 500-year-old Cathedral of St. Elizabeth — one of the oldest Gothic cathedrals in Europe — and it was Shaili Singh’s first street competition. There was peppy music too at the JBL Jumps Fest, held on Alzbetina Street in the Slovakian city of Kosice on Thursday night, and athletes were given the option of choosing their own musical numbers.

Shaili chose a Punjabi song for her jumps and, since Italy’s Olympic high jump champion Gianmarco Tamberi had promised the Indians that he would be watching their events, she was clearly in the mood.

The 20-year-old Asian silver medallist, currently the country’s No. 1 long jumper, produced a 6.43m in the fifth round, to take the silver behind Bulgaria’s former under-20 World champion Plamena Mitkova (6.70m) in the meet, a World Athletics Continental Tour (bronze) event.

Meanwhile Commonwealth Games champion Eldhose Paul took the men’s triple jump bronze with 16.45m while Praveen Chithravel, the Asian Games bronze medallist and national record holder (17.37m, May 2023), was sixth and last with 15.92m, his poorest result this season.

Since the Jumps Fest was a category ‘C’ event, the Indians were hoping to pick crucial points which could help them secure berths to the Paris Olympics through the World rankings route.

But the athletes were left shattered on Friday with the World Athletics marking all the results of the JBL Jumps Fest as UNC (uncertified) though it did not offer any explanation for this move. Which means that the world-ranking points picked from Slovakia would not be added to their Road to Paris rankings.

“The jumps were held on a slightly elevated runway but this is a WA Continental Tour event so I don’t think that could be the reason for the ‘UNC’... surely they would have looked into it before the meet,” Robert Bobby George, Shaili’s coach, told The Hindu from Geneva on Friday.

“Shaili will be competing in Atleticageneve in Geneva on Saturday but now it will be tough for her to qualify for the Olympics. Tomorrow’s event will be her seventh competition in a little over a month, in about seven countries. She is young, I don’t want to push her hard, it could lead to injuries. I’ve told her to just enjoy the competition...this European tour will be a good experience for her.”

Adille Sumariwalla, the president of the Athletics Federation of India and also World Athletics vice-president, has now written to world body about the ‘UNC’ issue.

“I’m making some enquiries, have written to WA...I’m not in India,” Sumariwalla told The Hindu.

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