Karnam Malleswari is a true legend in the Indian women weightlifting circuit. She has brought many laurels to the country with her breathtaking performances. Not just world weightlifting championship, but Karnam Malleswari created history when she won the Bronze at 2000 Sydney Olympics.
A girl was born in a small village of Andhra Pradesh. She started weightlifting at the age of twelve. Backed by the support of her family, this girl moved to Delhi. Later she was spotted by the Sports Authority of India. After so many years of hardwork and perseverance, this girl became a world championship winner in 54kg class. In 2000 Sydney Olympics she won the bronze medal and became the first Indian Woman to win an Olympic medal. Karnam Malleswari is the first and the only Indian weight lifter to win an Olympic medal. But she is hardly remembered by either the sports fraternity or sports lovers of India. Karnam Malleswari, whose unbelievable feat in Sydney Olympics is still the most memorable chapter in the history of Indian sports.
Karnam Malleshwari – PERSONAL LIFE:
Karnam Malleswari was born in a small village voosavanipeta in Andhra Pradesh. She has four sisters and all are trained in weightlifting. She started training under Coach Nallamshetty Appanna at the age of twelve. Karnam Malleswari moved to Delhi with her sister and later spotted by the sports Authority of India. In 1990, she joined the national camp. In 1994, she won the world title in 54kg division and from here her success story begins. In 1997, she married her fellow weightlifter Rajeev Tyagi and gave birth to a son in 2001. She planned to return to competitions at the 2002 Commonwealth games but withdrew due to her father’s death. She retired after failing to score at 2004 Olympics. Presently she lives in yamunanagar with her family and works at Food Corporation of India.
Karnam Malleswari – CAREER:
Karnam Malleswari won the world title in 54kg division in 1994 and 1995 and placed third in 1993 and 1996. She won the world weightlifting championship title in China in the year 1995 with a record lift off 113 kg. For which she won the Rajiv Gandhi khel ratna award. She managed a great victory in 2000 Sydney Olympics in women’s 69 kg division where she won a bronze medal. It was a lasting memory for her as well as for the nation as she was the first female medal winner in Olympics.
“The statement made by Malleswari after winning the medal was that she was overwhelmed with happiness and there would not be another such great moment like being the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal”..She earned the title of golden girl of Andhra Pradesh and hence became the golden girl of India. Before her Olympic win, she was a two time weightlifting champion with 29 International medals which includes 11 gold medals.
Her greatest moment was when the prime minister honored her with Padma shri for bringing glory and a sense of pride to the country.
Karnam Malleswari – Inspiration for all:
She became a household name after her incredible victories. As it has been 17 years since she achieved the feat, unfortunately people hardly remember her now. She expresses disappointment about how her country has chosen to ignore her historic achievements.
“The public should explain why they are so crazy about a game like cricket, where there is cheating and match-fixing, but have no interest in an Olympic medal. I feel bad — this is such a big achievement but there is no recognition. I am happy, though, because I have a good family life and that is enough. I tell myself that every individual has a duty to their country. I did what I could for my country as an Indian”. said Malleswari.
She is an inspiration for all of us. She didn’t let anything prevent her from chasing her dreams. We should salute this lady for the passion she has for sports and for her unwavering determination. She is a living legend who wrote a golden chapter in India’s sports.