'I was in the wrong era...' India's first world athletics medalist Anju Bobby George praises PM Modi (WATCH)
Reflecting on her 25-year career, Anju expressed gratitude for the positive changes witnessed in the sports landscape, particularly noting the celebration of Neeraj Chopra's recent medal. She emphasized the transformation in attitudes towards women empowerment and expressed optimism about India's future in sports.
Anju Bobby George, India's first-ever medallist at the World Athletics Championship, expressed gratitude for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to promote and transform sports in the country during a program held at the PM's residence on Christmas. The legendary long jumper, who won a bronze medal in the women's long jump at the 2003 World Championships in Athletics in Paris, reflected on the changes she witnessed over her 25-year career. Anju shared her experiences, noting that when she secured India's first global medal two decades ago, even her department was hesitant to grant her a promotion.
“As a sportsperson, I was here for almost 25 years and I’m seeing a lot of changes. When I got India’s first global medal 20 years ago, even my department was not ready to give me a promotion. But after Neeraj (Chopra) got a medal, I have seen the changes in the way we are celebrating… I envy them because I was in the wrong era,” Anju remarked during the event, referring to the recent celebration of Neeraj Chopra's medal and the positive changes observed in the sports landscape.
Addressing the gathering, Anju spoke about the evolution of women's empowerment, stating, "Women empowerment is not just a word now. Every Indian girl is ready to dream, and they know their dreams will come true."
Prime Minister Modi, who interacted with the Christian community on Christmas, hosted the event, and Anju Bobby George was among the prominent attendees. Expressing optimism about India's sporting future, she said, "I think in the near future, we will be at the top (of the sports world)."
Anju Bobby George, in addition to her World Championship bronze, achieved numerous accolades in her career, including a gold medal at the 2003 Afro-Asian Games and a personal best of 6.83m at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Her contributions were recognized with prestigious awards such as the Arjuna Award in 2002, Khel Ratna in 2003, and the Padma Shri in 2004, the fourth-highest civilian honour in India.