HomeAthletesKarnam Malleswari Biography: From Village Girl to Olympic Glory
-- Advertisement --

Karnam Malleswari Biography: From Village Girl to Olympic Glory

- Advertisement -

On 19th September 2000, at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, India found itself on the verge of yet another Olympic campaign without a single medal, just as it had experienced in 1992, 1988, and 1984, leading to feelings of disappointment and embarrassment. Even their traditionally dominant performance in hockey had failed to secure them a medal. However, this Olympics would be different for India. Something unprecedented in the nation’s 100-year Olympic history was about to unfold. On that day, Karnam Malleswari not only lifted the renowned 130 kg weight but also unveiled a new chapter in India’s sporting landscape, marking the beginning of a new era. In this blog, we will look at Karnam Malleswari’s biography, career, family, achievements, awards, etc.

-- Advertisement --

Malleswari not only became the first Indian woman ever to win an Olympic medal, whether individually or as part of a team, but she also initiated a trend that resulted in four Indian women winning medals in the global spectacle.

Karnam Malleswari Biography

Full Name Karnam Malleswari
Nick Name Iron Lady
Hometown Voosavanipeta, Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh, India
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63m)
Age 48 years (1 June 1975)
Weight Category 54 kg, 63 kg, 69 kg
Coached by Leonid Taranenko
Achievements
  • Bronze at the 1993 Melbourne World Championships (54 kg)
  • Gold at the 1994 Istanbul World Championships (54 kg)
  • Silver at the 1994 Asian Games at Hiroshima (54 kg)
  • Gold at the 1995 Guangzhou World Championships (54 kg)
  • Bronze at the 1996 Guangzhou World Championships (54 kg)
  • Silver at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games (63 kg)
  • Bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Weightlifting event (69 kg)
Awards
  • Arjuna Award (1994-95)
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (1995-96)
  • Padma Shri (1999)

Karnam Malleswari Journey

Karnam Malleswari KreedOn
A young Malleswari practicing weightlifting (Credit India.com)

Karnam Malleswari was born in a small AP village of Voosavanipeta. The place was part of a small town, Amadalavalasa. Her mother pushed four of their five daughters to take up weightlifting after watching her uncle’s son practice. She also believed that weightlifting would help make their daughters strong. Her husband, Manohar, got a job at the Railway Protection Force because of sports – he was good at volleyball and football.

Receiving strong support from her parents, she decided to pursue her career in weightlifting at a tender age. She would train with her sisters with improvised weights. Her mother, Shyamla, would tie household weights on bamboo sticks for her daughter’s initial training.

Later on, Manohar got transferred to Amadalavalasa. By that time, Malleswari had started to show a genuine inclination towards weightlifting. Watching this, her parents then put her through the weight-training regimen at the Ammi Naidu gym in the district headquarters town of Srikakulam. Soon, the drive towards weightlifting grew so strong that Malleswari dropped out of school when she was 12. With no schooling, she steadily progressed in the gym.


Mirabai Chanu KreedOnAlso Read | The Inspirational Story of Top 9 Famous Indian Weightlifters

Her mother would save whatever she could from her household budget to full fill all of her daughter’s growing needs for nourishment. Later, when Malleswari would go on to perform at various state and national levels, Shyamla would accompany her with a kerosene stove to serve her daughter a hot and nutritional meal.

Malleswari and her parent’s efforts were to soon bear tangible fruits. She received her first professional coach in the face of Neelam Shetty Appanna, and in no time, national championships beckoned the rising youngster.

National Stage – The Rise of the Star

Her career took off in the year 1991 when a 16-year-old Malleswari won a silver at the 1991 Senior Nationals held in Ambala. The result was a big boost for the AP girl and a genuine sign of bigger things to come.

International Stage – Announcing Her Arrival

Karnam Malleswari KreedOn
Malleswari competing at an International Event (Credit Pinterest)

In the year 1993, Malleswari snapped the bronze in the 54 kg category at the World Championships in Melbourne. The following year, she became a World Champion, clinching the gold a the 1994 World Championships in Istanbul. In the process, she also became the first Indian woman to win gold on the stage. Later that year, she also claimed the silver medal at the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima.

Next year, in 1995, she successfully defended her title by again winning the gold in the 54 kg at the 1995 World Championships in Guangzhou. Later, in 1996, she had a relatively poor display in Guangzhou and had to suffice herself with a bronze.  By the time she prepared for the Olympics, she had won 29 International medals, of which 11 were gold.

2000 Sydney Olympics – History Rewritten

Malleswari KreedOn
Malleswari at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (Credit: Scroll.in)

The 2000 Olympics was one of hope for India and Malleswari alike. India had sent a 65-member strong contingent, a direct jump of 16 from the 49 athletes that participated at the previous Olympics. As for K Malleswari, this was the first real chance to prove her mettle on the biggest stage in the world. Winning mattered even more as, between 1996 and 1999, she had failed to win a single podium finish at World Championships.

On 19 September 2000, K Malleswari slowly walked towards the weights that awaited her at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Center. The 25-year-old had steadily made her way into the finals. In the finals as well, she performed resiliently, lifting 105 kg, 107.5 kg, and 110 kg in the snatch event and 125 kg and 130 kg in the Clean & Jerk event. These performances had put her in a very strong position to finish at the top of the podium. She was way ahead of her fellow contenders. She only had to successfully lift the metal weighing 137.5 kg that lay in front of her to win India’s first individual gold, both among women and men alike.


PT Usha, KreedOnAlso Read | PT Usha Biography | Information | Full Name | Honors

Malleswari rubbed the white powder on her hands and briefly meditated as though praying to god for one last triumph. Laying her hands on the bar, she failed as she tried to lift the weight, and the heavy metal crashed onto the floor. With that broke a billion hearts. Although she had done enough to win a historic bronze, the first by Indian women, years later, she admitted gold was within her grasp.

According to her, it was due to a miscalculation on the part of her coaches that she chose a weight of 137.5 kg. Not that she had not lifted a weight of that magnitude, it was only that lifting it was not necessary. A weight of even 132.5 kg would have been sufficient for Malleswari to clinch the yellow metal.

Karnam Malleswari Later Years & Retirement

Karnam Malleswari KreedOn
Karnam Malleswari at a press release (Credit AKFC)

She decided not to participate in the 2002 Commonwealth Games due to her father’s death. Later, she had an unsuccessful 2004 Athen Olympics. She soon announced her retirement.

After she retired from professional weightlifting, Karnam Malleswari has dedicated herself to the promotion of sports and the empowerment of young athletes in India. She plays a vital role as a coach and mentor, particularly in weightlifting programs. In June 2021, she was appointed as the vice-chancellor of Sports University, established by the Govt of Delhi.


Sports in Olympics | Olympic Games Showcase the Best of Total Sports | KreedOn GuideAlso Read | Olympic Games Showcase the Best of Total Sports


Karnam Malleswari Family

Karnam Malleswari
Malleswari with mother Shyamla (Credit The Hindu)

Karnam Malleswari was born on 1 June 1975 in Andhra Pradesh’s small village Voosavanipeta to Karnam Manohar and Shyamla. Mr. Manohar was a constable in the Railway Protection Force (RPF). She has four sisters named Narsamma, Madhavi, and Krishna Kumari. Of them, three went into the field of weightlifting along with Malleswari. She also had a brother named Ravindra Kumar. Of them, Krishna Kumari, her younger sister, was a national weightlifting champion. The name ‘Karnam’ literally means pride, dignity, and fame in Sanskrit.

Karnam Malleswari got married to fellow weightlifter Rajesh Tyagi in 1997. He was a general secretary of the Weightlifting Association. In 2001, Malleswari gave birth to a son, Sharad Chander Tyagi. He is also a sports person like his parents and a rising shooter.

Karnam Malleswari Titles

  • Bronze at the 1993 Melbourne World Championships (54 kg)
  • Gold at the 1994 Istanbul World Championships (54 kg)
  • Silver at the 1994 Asian Games at Hiroshima (54 kg)
  • Gold at the 1995 Guangzhou World Championships (54 kg)
  • Bronze at the 1996 Guangzhou World Championships (54 kg)
  • Silver at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games (63 kg)
  • Bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Weightlifting event (69 kg)
  • National Champion from 1992-1998

Awards

  • Arjuna Award (1994-95)
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (1995-96)
  • Padma Shri (1999)

Karnam Malleswari Social Media

Twitter


Top Ten Best Protein Powders: Start the right 'Whey'- KreedOnAlso Read | Top 10 Best Protein Powders: Start the right ‘Whey’ today


FAQ

Who is Karnam Malleswari?

Karnam Malleswari, a former weightlifter from India, achieved global acclaim for her remarkable contributions to the sport. She made history as the first Indian woman to secure an Olympic medal.

What is Karnam Malleswari doing now?

Following her retirement from professional weightlifting, Karnam Malleswari has dedicated herself to the promotion of sports and the empowerment of young athletes in India. She plays a vital role as a coach and mentor particularly in weightlifting programs. In June 2021, she was appointed as the vice-chancellor of Sports University, established by the Govt of Delhi.

Has Karnam Malleswari received any awards or honors?

Yes, Karnam Malleswari has received numerous awards and honors for her contributions to sports. She was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting honor, in 1999.

What impact did Karnam Malleswari have on Indian sports?

Karnam Malleswari’s achievements had a significant impact on Indian sports, especially for women. Her successful career paved the way for more recognition and support for female athletes in India and inspired a new generation of weightlifters.

Follow us on: InstagramFacebookYouTubeWhatsApp and be part of KreedOn’s community

For more sports knowledge and latest stories on Indian sports and athletes

Subscribe Now Receive exciting Indian sports stories on your WhatsApp now.
Monish Gadiya
Monish Gadiya
Monish Gadiya is the Head of Content at KreedOn. He is a thorough tech-enthusiast and believes that innovation is the answer to all the problems prevalent in the society. Monish graduated from University of Pune with a degree in Civil Engineering before pursuing a post-graduate diploma course in intellectual property rights. A die-hard football fan, he has represented his college at various football competitions.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here