Tokyo Olympics: How J.J. Shobha won hearts in Athens 2004

The 43-year-old Shobha remembers the 2004 Games for the spirit she had shown in the face of a serious injury.

Double Olympian and national heptathlon record-holder JJ Shobha.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

In the birthplace of the modern Games, Athens, J.J. Shobha came up with a performance that stands as one of the most memorable ones - not for winning a medal - but for completing her heptathlon events despite a ligament tear before the final segment of 800 m.

The 43-year-old Shobha remembers the 2004 Games for the spirit she had shown in the face of a serious injury. She got a standing ovation from the crowd. “The memories of that day are still fresh. No doubt, there is a lifetime regret of missing a huge opportunity of having a go at the Olympic medal when you know you are at your best. But again, it was destiny that saw me suffer that ligament tear in the javelin event,” she told Sportstar on Wednesday.

In a way, every four years, this spirited athlete from the South Central Railway has to rekindle the memories with the media hovering around her to recap those moments.

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“Well, some thoughts will be repetitive but no better joy than sharing that unforgettable experience,” she said.

“The fact that I had entered the Athens Games after the national record (6211 points ) in the heptathlon and then, that injury coming at the wrong time hurts me most when I think about it,” said Shobha, who married former national hockey player Ajay Bharati.

“I vividly remember being carried away on a stretcher twice during the heptathlon in Athens - once after the injury and the after completing the 800 m under serious distress,” she recalled.

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“I was not sure whether I would complete the event. But I could muster grit, courage and conviction to do that. I didn’t want that DNF against my name in the Olympics and glad I was 11th overall at the end of it all,” she said.

The feat made the legendary P.T. Usha write in one of her columns. "Shobha proved she was there to fight it out, not as a passenger like a lot of her better-known athletes."

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