Anju Bobby George (1977 - Present)
Anju Bobby George is an Indian athlete. She is the first Indian athlete ever to win a medal in a World Championship in athletics jumping.
Life of Anju Bobby George:
Anju Bobby George was born in Kochuparambi family in Changanassery in Kerala. She was introduced to athletics by her father and her interest in it was further developed by her trainer in Koruthode School. Anju Bobby George did her schooling from CKM
Koruthode School and then graduated from Vimala College. In a school meet 1991-1992, Anju won the 100 m hurdles and relay and stood second in the long jump and high jump events. She became the women’s champion in the event. Her talent got noticed in the national school games where she won the third place in the 100 m hurdles and 4x100 m relay. She also studied in Calicut University.
Anju Bobby George is married to Robert Bobby George who is also her coach. Robert is a mechanical engineer and a former national champion in triple jump himself. He gave up his career to become a full time to Anju in the year 1998. He belongs to the prestigious sports family and is the younger brother of the famous volleyball player Jimmy George. Anju is currently employed in the customs department and they both live and train in Bengaluru.
Career of Anju Bobby George:
Anju Bobby George initially started her career with heptathlon, but later on she began to concentrate on her jump events and went on to win the long jump medal in the 1996 Delhi Junior Asian Championship. In the year 1999, Anju set the national record for triple jump in the Bangalore Federation Cup and silver medal in the South Asian Federation Games held in Nepal. In the year 2001, Anju broke her own record in long jump to 6.74 meters in the National Circuit Meet in Trhiruvananthapuram. She also won the gold for triple jump and long jump in the Ludhiana National Games in the same year. Anju was supreme in the competition in the Hyderabad National Games too. She won the bronze medal clearing 6.49 meters in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. She also won the gold medal in the Asian Games in Bussan.
Anju Bobby George made history when she won the bronze medal clearing 6.70 meters in the long jump in the 2003 World Championships in Athletics in Paris. Following this win, she became the first athlete from India ever to win a medal in the World Championships in Athletics. She also won a gold medal in the 2003 Afro-Asian Games. She achieved her personal best of 6.83 meters in the 2004 Olympics Games in Athens that brought her to the sixth position. In September 2005, she grabbed the gold medal in the women’s long jump in the 16th Asian Athletics Championship in Inchehon City of South Korea with a leap of 6.65 meters. She then went on to win the silver medal in the IAAF World Athletics Final in the year 2005 with a leap of 6.75 meters, a performance she considers her best. Anju also won silver medal in the women’s long jump in the 15th Asian Games in the year 2006 which was held in Doha. In the year 2007, Anju won a silver medal in the 17th Asian Athletics Championship held in Amman in Jordan. She won with a jump of 6.65 meters which qualified her for the Osaka World Championship in August 2007 where she finished 9th. Anju started her 2008 session with a silver medal in the 3rd Asian Indoor Championship in athletics in Doha with a jump of 6.38 meters and she improved her distance to 6.50 meters by winning gold in the 3rd South Asian Athletics Championship in Kochi in Kerala.
Anju Bobby George’s journey to success from rank 61 in 2001 to rank 6 in 2003 was one of sheer hard work and she achieved this within a short time span. The credit for this goes to her husband and coach Robert Bobby George who has been the biggest influence in her life. Anju and Robert, realizing that international exposure is essential for competing in the world class environment took necessary initiatives and got herself trained with Mike Powell, who is a world record holder before the World Athletics Meet that gave her valuable exposure in technique.
Anju contested in the 2004 Athens Olympics but failed to win a medal. She also contested in the 2008 Beijing Olympics but failed to qualify for the women’s long jump event fouling in all her three attempts. She pulled out of the 52nd national inter-state athletics in Hyderabad due to an upper respiratory tract infection.
Anju Bobby George received the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2002-2003 for being one of the eminent sportsperson. She received the award from the Indian government. She also received the country’s highest sporting honor, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2003-2004 after her success in the World Athletic meet. She was also conferred the Padma Shri in the year 2004. Anju Bobby George was ranked 28th on 12th February 2007 in the rankings of the International Association of Athletics Federation.