Kottayam District, Kerala: Long jumper Anju George's bronze for India at the Manchester Commonwealth Games is the first ever medal won at the Games by an Indian woman. Anju's bronze is also India's first athletics medal in 24 years. In Kerala, her family is not only celebrating, but is also hoping her next medal will be at the Olympics. Anju qualified for the 2000 Olympics but that night, she told her family about her leg injury which went on to keep her off the field for almost two years. Gracy Markose, Anju's mother, said, "After being selected as the first woman jumper to represent India at the Olympics, she was devastated when she couldn't go.The Olympics was her life's dream." At Anju's house in Cheeranchira, every face radiates pride. Her parents recall that, after her injury, Anju wasn't too eager to go on and that the best thing that then happened to her was her marriage to national triple jump champion Bobby George who coached her to make this great comeback. K T Markose, Anju's father remarked, "When in school, she was so lazy that I sometimes had to scold and pinch her to make her practice. But for Bobby's effort, she would have given up athletics after marriage." It's now 18 years since Anju got her first medal - after she won the primary school sprint competition at the age of 7. From this tiny village in the interior of central Kerala to Indian athletic history at the Commonwealth Games, it has indeed been a long journey for Anju George.
Topics : Athletics