Her Life: India’s Most Decorated Female Athlete
- Year 1977 – Born in Cheeranchira, Kerala.
- Year 1996 – Won a medal at the Delhi junior Asian Championships.
- Year 2002 – Won her first Commonwealth medal.
- Year 2004 – Won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna.
- Year 2005 – Won the gold medal at IAAF World Athletics Final.
“At the top level of international competition, there is very little difference between the various jumpers and who performs best on the day wins.”
Anju Bobby George is an Indian athlete who made history when she won the bronze medal in the long jump at the 2003 World Championships in Athletics in Paris. She became the first Indian athlete ever to win a medal in a World Championships in Athletics jumping 6.70 m.
Let’s look at the childhood of India’s one of all-time greatest athletes:
Anju Bobby George was born on April 19, 1977 in Cheeranchira in Changanasseri, Kerala to parents, K.T. Markos and Gracy. Anju did her schooling from St. Ann’s High School and CKM Koruthode School and graduated from Vimala College.
She was initiated into athletics by her father and her interest was further deepened by her trainer Mr Thomas in Koruthode School. In the School Athletic meet in 1991-92, she came first in 100 m hurdles and relay, and second in the long jump and high jump events to become the women’s champion. Anju’s talent was noticed in the National School Games where she won third place in 100 m hurdles and 4×100 m relay.
Her personal life is a living example of persistence and determination:
Her husband, Bobby George, is Anju’s biggest support and strength. He was her coach, nutritionist, manager, psychologist, and of course friend. In fact, they met for the first time at a training camp held in 1996 under coach P T Joseph. They both connected immediately and became good friends. Moreover, Bobby was a model, triple jump national champion, and a star volleyball player then. He met with an accident in the year 1998. After recovering from it, he decided to become Anju’s coach. The couple is now blessed with two children, Aaron and Andrea.
This is how the career of this legend unfolded and made her perhaps the most popular female athlete of India:
Anju focused on jumps and made her mark by winning a medal at the Delhi Junior Asian Championships held in 1996. In 1999, she set a national record in the triple jump. Anju achieved this feat at the Federation Cup in Bangalore. She also won a silver at the South Asian Federation Games. Anju’s first Commonwealth medal came in 2002. At the Manchester Games, she cleared a distance of 6.49 m and came home with the bronze. In the same year, she won the gold medal at the Asian Games. Anju instantly gained fame and recognition after this feat.
In 2003, she won the bronze medal at the World Championships. She made a 6.70 m long jump to achieve this stellar feat. Anju Bobby George is India’s only medal winner in the IAAF World Championship. Her gold medal-winning streak continued at the Asian Athletics Championship of 2005 and at the IAAF World Athletics. Even at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she tried her best but failed to qualify for the women’s long jump event, failing in all her three attempts.
The Olympian long jumper has garnered several awards and recognitions for her game and contribution to the sports:
In 2002, she won the gold medal at Busan and was felicitated with the Arjuna Award the same year. After two years, Government of India conferred upon her the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Padma Shri. She also won a gold medal at the IAAF World Athletics Final in Monte Carlo in 2005.
Until the year 2016, Anju worked as the President of the Kerala State Sports Council. Currently, she is working as the Chairperson of TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme). She is also the Executive member of Khelo India project. She also runs her own foundation, Anju Bobby Sports Foundation, which works to provide financial and infrastructural opportunities to children from underprivileged sections. Currently, she is working in the customs department in Chennai.