The Forgotten Story of Anju Bobby George

Anju Bobby George

Indian athletics has produced very few heroes, to say the least, but one name will remain forever in the minds of sports enthusiasts across India and continues to remain an inspiration for budding kids is Anju Bobby George. The “Long Jump Queen” of India is one among the renowned female sports personalities during the years of male-dominated early 2000s.

Anju Bobby George

She became the limelight when she became the first Indian to reach the podium in 2003 world athletic championships where she went on to bag bronze medal by leaping 6.75m.  Her hard work and patience along with the support of her husband and coach Robert Bobby George who himself a former national triple jump champion she continued to dominate the sport during her playing days. She is one of the finest athletes India has ever produced and she played the vital role in popularizing the athletics in the country.

The Early life of Anju Bobby George

Anju Bobby George

Anju Bobby George was born on 19 April 1977 in Cheeranchira village in Kottayam at Kerala. She was born in a Syrian Orthodox family and her family is known as Kochuparambil family in her area. His father K. T Markose was instrumental in Anju taking up the sport. During her schooling at Koruthode School, she started concentrating in long jump under a trainer and later she moved on to Vimala School to complete her graduation.

She was married to Robert Bobby George who is a former national champion and he is her coach, nutritionist, psychologist, manager and of course her best friend and fan. They first met at a training camp held in 1996. Since then they become very close friends. Unfortunately, George met an accident in 1998 and after getting complete recovery from it he decided to coach Anju and that changed her sporting career. They have two children, one is son Aaron and another one is daughter Andrea.

The Journey from a Kid to a Champion

Anju Bobby George Pics

During her Schooling, Anju was very much interested in hurdles, relay, long jump, and high jump. she won the relay and 100 m hurdle and got a second place in long jump and high jump events in an athletic meet in 1991-1992 and Anju was awarded as individual the women’s champion for her majestic performance. Since then she became the key figure in national school games and her talent was observed closely by administrators of the sport at junior level. Her gold medal-winning performance at 4 * 100m relay during the event made the sporting fraternity to realize that she is a real talent and she needs to be nurtured. She continues to perform well and started reaping medals at state and national levels from 1992 to 1996.

She began to concentrate only on jumping events and made her presence felt by winning the gold medal for long jump in the 1996 Delhi Junior Asian Championship. She set a new national record for triple jump in the Bangalore Federation cup and won the silver medal at the 1996 South Asian Federation Games in Nepal. In 2001, Anju upgraded her own record in the long jump to 6.74m in the National Circuit Meet at Thiruvananthapuram as well as won the gold medal for both triple jump and long jump in the Ludhiana national games at the same year. She also won the gold medal in long jump at Hyderabad national games during 1999.

International Achievements

Anju Bobby George International Achievements

  • In 2002, Anju won the bronze medal for clearing 6.49m in the commonwealth games at the Manchester.
  • In 2003 Afro-Asian games She bagged the gold medal in long jump and Anju become the first Indian female athlete to win the gold medal at the Asian Games in Busan in 2004.
  • During 2004 Athens Olympics Anju was much anticipated to bring the laurels to the country by winning a medal but she reached her personal best of 6.83m and secured the fifth spot.
  • In September 2005, Anju went on to win her 16th Asian Athletics championship where she won the gold medal for Women’s long jump in Incheon city of South Korea with the leap of 6.65m.
  • In 2006, Anju won the silver medal for women’s long jump in 15th Asian games held at Doha.
  • She won the silver medal in 17th Asian Athletics Championship at Jordan with the leap of 6.65m. Due to this outstanding outing, she got the direct qualification for the Osaka World Championship in 2007.
  • Anju reached her career-best rankings in 2004 as she ranked fourth in international rankings during the year.
  • Anju won the silver medal in 3rd Asian indoor championship at Doha with a jump of 6.38m in 2007.
  • She also won the gold medal in 3rd South Asian Athletics Championship at Kochi, Kerala with the distance of 6.50m in 2007
  • She formally announced her retirement in 2008 after she failed to qualify for Beijing Olympics 2008.
Awards and Facilitation

Anju Bobby George Awards

During her playing days, her work was highly recognized and she was awarded following awards:

  • In 2002-2003, She received Arjuna Award for eminent sportsperson from the Government of India
  • In 2003-2004, She was awarded as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award which is regarded as the highest sporting honor in the country.
  • After her success in the World Athletic meet and also she got Padma Shri award, the fourth highest civilian Award in the country in 2004.
Interesting facts about Anju Bobby George

Interesting facts about Anju Bobby George

  • Anju worked as president of Kerala sports council until 2016. She is currently the chairperson of Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) and also the executive member of Khelo India Project.
  • She runs her own foundation naming Anju Bobby George foundation which is aiming to provide financial and infrastructural opportunities to deserving children who are interested in sports.
  • She is the biggest fan of American athletic giant Marlon Jones and she once said that she wants Anushka Sharma to act in her biopic if it is made. She also claims that her hobby is travelling and she wants to travel more and more.

Anju Bobby George is undoubtedly one of the biggest sporting fraternities India has ever produced and she continues to remain as an inspiration for budding youngsters to take up the sport. The only thing we can do is wishing her all success in her future endeavors.

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