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

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 agreement

The setting was inspiring, right next to the 500-year-old Cathedral of St. Elizabeth – one of the oldest Gothic cathedrals in Europe – and it was Shaili Singh’s first street competition. The JBL Jumps Fest, held on Alzbetina Street in the Slovakian city of Kosice on Thursday night, also featured upbeat music and athletes had the opportunity to choose 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 watch their competitions, she was obviously in the right mood.

The 20-year-old Asian silver medalist and currently the country’s best long jumper, scored 6.43m in the fifth round to take silver in the competition, a World Athletics Continental Tour event (bronze), behind former Bulgarian U20 world champion Plamena Mitkova (6.70m).

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

Since the Jumps Fest was a Category C event, the Indians were hoping to score crucial points that could secure them a place at the Paris Olympics via the world rankings.

But athletes were left shocked on Friday when World Athletics marked all JBL Jumps Fest results as UNC (uncertified), without providing any explanation for the move. This means that the world ranking points Slovakia receives will not be added to their Road to Paris rankings.

“The jumps were on a slightly raised 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 taken care of it before the competition,” said Robert Bobby George, Shaili’s coach. The Hindu from Geneva on Friday.

“Shaili will compete in Geneva on Saturday at Atletica Geneve, but now it will be difficult for her to qualify for the Olympics. Tomorrow’s event will be her seventh competition in just over a month, in about seven countries. She is young, I don’t want to put too much pressure on her, that could lead to injuries. I told her to just enjoy the competition… this European tour will be a good experience for her.”

Adille Sumariwalla, President of the Indian Athletics Federation and Vice President of the International Athletics Federation, has now commented in a letter to the World Athletics Organization (UNC).

“I am making some inquiries, have written to WA… I am not in India,” said Sumariwalla The Hindu.

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