World No. 5 Anju Bobby Geroge kept alive India's hopes for another World Championship medal when she came up with her best jump of the season in the very first attempt to book a place in Tuesday's women's long jump final in Helsinki, Finland.
Competing in Group B, the 28-year-old Indian, who rewrote history books winning a bronze medal in the Paris Worlds in 2003, produced her best of 6.54m in the first attempt on Monday before surviving a dip in form in her second and third jumps which measured only 6.38m and 6.47m respectively.
She eventually made the grade as one of the 10 competitiors who failed to make the automatic qualification mark of 6.65m.
Tianna Madison of USA who had a first leap of 6.83m and Concepcion Montaner of Spain (6.65m), also on the first try, were the only two jumpers who made the automatic qualification mark in the absence of one of the favourite, Russia's Irina Simagina, who did not start at the Olympic Stadium.
Anju, who was lying in third place after the first round, slipped to fourth after the second and finally sixth after the third and last round.
But luckily for Anju it was a tough outing for her rivals too including Olympic silver medallist Tatyana Kotava and World Champion Eunice Barber, who also failed to go past the qualifying mark.
Besides Montaner, the others to qualify from Group A were Kotova, Cuba's Yargelis Savigne, Britain's Kelly Sotherton and Jamaican Elva Goulbourne.
Seven of the 12 qualfiers for the final were from Group B and qualifying alongside Madisson, Barber and Anju were Tunde Vaszi (Hungary), Grace Upshaw (USA), Oksana Udmurtova (Russia) and Jackie Edwards (Bahamas).
Start list for the event:
|7||Bobby George Anju||IND|