Anju Bobby George became the first Indian athlete to win a medal in a World Championships when she won bronze in Paris 2003. One of the most celebrated athletes in India history, Anju claimed the gold medal at the 2002 Busan Asian Games and followed it up with silver four years later in Doha.
Born in the Kottayam town of Cheeranchira, Anju was encouraged to take up athletics as a child by her father KT Markose, who took a keen interest in his daughter's nascent career.
Spotting her talent, KP Thomas, the school sports teacher at CKM Higher Secondary School in Koruthodu, coached Anju. As her school was a good three hours away from her house, Anju moved into her school hostel to save time.
Under Thomas' guidance, Anju made her mark at state and national school games as she won medals in 100m hurdles, long jump and high jump. She set the national record for triple jump in 1999 at the Bangalore Federation Cup while setting the national record in long jump at the 2001 National Circuit meet.
As her thoughts turned towards turning into a professional athlete, Anju decided to focus solely on long jump event.
Anju married fellow long jumper Bobby George and he doubled up as her coach as she set her eyes on glory at the world stage.
Ahead of the 2002 Asian Games, Anju tasted international success at a professional level as she clinched bronze at the Manchester Commonwealth Games held in the same year.
A month later, Anju won her first international gold medal at the Asian Games in Busan and a year later, she created history at the 2003 IAFF World Championships in Paris when she became the first Indian to win a medal at the event.
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Updated Date: Aug 27, 2018 22:25:39 IST