Getting a longed-for medal!

Anju Bobby George flew to Busan for the 2002 Asian Games with the aim of winning the gold in the long jump. And that's just what she did.

Anju Bobby George won the long jump gold at the 2002 Busan Asian Games.   -  THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

When I flew to Busan for the 2002 Asian Games, my aim was to win the gold. I would not have settled for anything less. Having won the bronze at the Commonwealth Games at Manchester earlier in the year, I was confident that I could strike gold at the Asian Games, where, I knew, the competition wasn’t going to be as tough. I also knew that India had never won a medal in the women’s long jump event; I am proud that I could become the first. And the medal I won was the first one India got in athletics at Busan. That also made me happy.

I had begun with a jump of 6.45m and was in the lead right through. My best effort was 6.53m, which fetched me the gold and brought much cheer to the Indian camp.

But, I had reasons to be apprehensive in Busan, though. I had arrived just a day before the competition, as the flight was rescheduled three times and had to take the longest route. On the day I landed, it was raining badly, and all the practice I could manage was inside the Games village.

Four years later at Doha, I had to settle for the silver. I wasn’t in good shape then, after contracting an infection while training in South Africa. I was so ill that I could not even sleep properly for weeks. Though I was registering distances as low as 5.85m during the trials, I could come up with 6.52m to come second in the competition, behind Japan’s Kumiko Ikeda.

As told to P. K. Ajith Kumar