HomeAthletesBiographiesJJ Shobha Biography: A Sportstar Who Reflected Perserverance & Dedication in her...
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JJ Shobha Biography: A Sportstar Who Reflected Perserverance & Dedication in her Dynamic Career

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If you fall behind, run faster. Never give up, never surrender, and rise up against the odds. – Jesse Jackson

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India is a land of diverse talents. The country has produced some of the greatest names in almost every field. The country has no dearth of sporting talent. Some athletes have a name for broken records, while others captured hearts. Some known, some comparatively unknown, our sporting stars have always made us proud.

Today we decided to glimpse into the life of one such star, who earned respect from the entire world. This athlete embodies perseverance and dedication. She has had a short, but dynamic career. Let us get to know the life story of J.J. Shobha.

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JJ Shobha – Biography

JJ Shobha


Early Life

Born and brought up in a small village Pashupathilaal, in Dharwad, Karnataka, Javur Jagadeeshappa or JJ Shobha, is a spirited track and field athlete. Living in railway quarters, Shobha had an inclination towards sports from a very young age. She started pursuing athletics seriously since her 5th standard. Her dedication paid rich dividends and she started winning laurels at the junior level.

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jj shobha
Doha, QATAR: India’s J.J. Shobha throws in the women’s heptathlon javelin event on the second day of the athletics competition for the 15th Asian Games at Khalifa Stadium in Doha, 09 December 2006. AFP PHOTO / MARWAN NAAMANI (Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Shobha’s spectacular athletic journey started in 2002 with a bronze medal at the Busan Asian Games and a silver medal at the Colombo Asian Athletics Championships. Shobha had her golden moment in the year 2003. She won the yellow metal at the Afro-Asian Games. The victory made her an instant sensation in the country. Then came the incident that brought her international recognition.

JJ Shobha in Historical Olympics

Not many Indians can say that the entire international community applauded them at an Olympic event. JJ Shobha achieved this feat at the Athens Olympics. Though she couldn’t win a medal for the country, she sure did win many hearts! Shobha was performing well in the heptathlon event. In a weird twist of faith, she suffered an injury in the second last event, the javelin throw. The ligament tear was extremely bad and Shobha has to be carried in a stretcher. It was truly a heartbreaking site.

However, she came back, she participated, and she finished the race in style. Shobha displayed true sportsman spirit that day. She finished 11th overall out of 34 contestants, but she definitely managed to win the most respect.

“Initially, I was reluctant to take part in the 800-metre race. When the Indian contingent insisted that I should complete the event so to finish with a creditable placing, I decided to give it a try on a condition that if I develop pain I will pull out. By God’s grace, I have not only competed but finished with an overall tally of 6,172 points which is still below my personal best of 6,211 points,” she told The Hindu in an interview after coming back.

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The entire experience mattered more to Shobha than just medals. She got an opportunity to interact with the best in the world. It also helped her understand her weaknesses and work on them.

The winner of the heptathlon event, Carolina Kluft of Sweden told the India Times, “I was shocked to see her in the warm-up area. I never thought she’d be able to walk again, forget run.”

JJ Shobha 2004 Olympic Score Card

Event Performance Points
800 m 2:17.28 s 861
Javelin 44.36 m 751
Long Jump 6.36 m 962
200 m 23.41 s 1038
Shot Put 12.52 m 696
High Jump 1.67 m 818
100 m 13.53 s 1046

The performance also won her the Arjuna award. Shobha has her second Olympic appearance in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics. Shobha managed to come 29th in the heptathlon event with 5749 points.

Interesting Facts about JJ Shobha

  • JJ Shobha works as the head clerk in the South Central Railways.
  • Her favourite actor is South Indian star Venkatesh.
  • Shobha loves to hog on chicken biryani and bhendi curry whenever possible.
  • Shobha has received a letter of appreciation from the then Union Sports Minister, Sunil Dutt, for commitment to sports and determination in the Athens Olympics.


  • Arjuna Award
The President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam presenting the Arjuna Award for the year 2004 to Ms. J.J.Shobha for Athletics at a glittering ceremony, in New Delhi on August 29, 2005.

Source: Wikimedia Commons


Asian Games

Year Place Event Medal
2002 Busan, South Korea Heptathlon Bronze
2006 Doha, Qatar Heptathlon Bronze

Afro-Asian Games

Year Place Event Medal
2003 Hyderabad, India Heptathlon Gold

Asian Athletics Championships

Year Place Event Medal
2002 Colombo, Sri Lanka Heptathlon Silver
2007 Amman, Jordan Heptathlon Silver

Olympic Performance

Year Place Event Rank
2004 Athens, Greece Heptathlon 11
2008 Beijing, China Heptathlon 29

National Championships

Year Place Event Rank
2003 Bangalore, India Heptathlon 1
2003 Bangalore, India Long Jump 1
2006 New Delhi, India Long Jump 1
2007 Jamshedpur, India Heptathlon 1

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Mamta Thatte
Mamta Thatte
A passionate foodie, a versatile writer, and now a sports enthusiast, Mamta is always open to exploring new avenues. She has a vast experience in Web Content Writing, Editing, and Social Media Management. A self-confessed coffee and dark chocolate addict, she believes in following her heart and giving her 100% into everything she does.



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