Anju Bobby George forever etched her name in Indian athletics when she gave her country its first ever medal at the World Athletics Championships. In 2003, George leaped a good distance of 6.70 meters, or 22.0 feet, during the finals in Long Jump and secured her place among the top three finalists. She won the bronze medal for India, and George became a historic athletic figure in the country. 

She then went on to have a successful athletic career in the following years. What even makes her accomplishments even more remarkable is that she achieved all of them despite having a rare genetic disease called unilateral renal agenesis, where an individual is born with only one kidney. 

In 2008, George announced her retirement from the sport. 

George’s perspective on Modern Athletics

In her most recent public appearance at a Christmas event organized at the PM’s residence, George said that, having spent nearly 25 years as a sportsperson, she has witnessed considerable change throughout the athletic period, particularly in the way it is being promoted and how athletes are given more recognition today than before. She remarked that back then, her department ‘wasn’t prepared’ to promote her even though she achieved India’s first international athletic medal.

And, seeing and acknowledging India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts in promoting and nurturing sports in the country, she surmised that had she played in this modern era, her victories might have been celebrated differently.

With the newfound interest in sports in India, she admitted to being envious of the athletes of today.

But, putting aside her sentiments about the past, George felt rather happy that things had changed for the better. 

George rejoiced in the fact that, thanks to the women’s empowerment movement, Indian girls today follow their dreams without hesitation. In addition, she was pleased with how far her country had come in honoring and valuing their athlete’s accomplishments.

She also commended the Prime Minister in her speech for drawing attention to these developments in the sports industry.

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