Karnam Malleswari on her 2000 Sydney Olympics medal: A bronze worth a gold!

I won’t say I was disappointed, but I definitely take pride in winning an Olympic medal after such a long and demanding journey in the world of weightlifting.

The 2000 Sydney Olympics obviously stands out as the most memorable moment for me, being the only Indian to win a medal, though I was aiming for the gold.   -  Reuters

Two decades ago, things were totally different.. Compared to those days, the support from the government and corporates is on a different plane for sports now.

We had to face a lot of struggles to make it big. The biggest challenge was to be picked for the Olympics itself and to train within limitations for 14 hours daily — split into three schedules.

When I look back, I sincerely believe that if women’s weightlifting were to be introduced at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, I am 100 percent sure that I would have clinched the gold, having won the 1995 World Championships. I was at the peak of my career then.

Tokyo Olympics: Physio Evangeline to accompany Sindhu  

Still, the 2000 Sydney Olympics obviously stands out as the most memorable moment for me, being the only Indian to win a medal, though I was aiming for the gold. To stand on the medal podium at my first Olympics is something I will not easily forget. It was truly emotional and it is fresh in my memory.

To be more specific about the bronze medal-winning effort, I feel, when I look back, that I missed the gold because of a miscalculation by the coach. Normally, in the final lift, heavy weights are not preferred. And I realised later on that instead of going for 137kg and missing it, if only I had attempted either 132kg or even 135 kg, I would have easily won the gold. But destiny had it that way.

Gymnast Brody Malone takes unusual path to Tokyo Olympics  

I won’t say I was disappointed, but I definitely take pride in winning an Olympic medal after such a long and demanding journey in the world of weightlifting, coming from such a remote place like Amadalavalasa in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. And it was treated like gold back home!

Honestly, I didn’t change as a person, though that medal-winning performance ensured stardom in the world of sports.

Tokyo Olympics: Dhanalakshmi sees a brighter future in quartermile  

I remain the same old traditional girl for I came the hard way with my parents sacrificing so much.

I am sure Saikhom Mirabai Chanu is the strongest contender for a weightlifting medal in Tokyo given her impressive record of late. Yes, one needs some luck and I sincerely wish she will come back with laurels given the kind of support modern-day athletes are getting from different quarters.

As told to V. V. Subrahmanyam

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :