India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes. Sportstar will present one iconic sporting achievement each day, leading up to August 15, 2022.

Weightlifter Karnam Malleswari wins bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (69 kg category)

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, weightlifter Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian female to win a medal at the Summer Games and lifted the drooping spirits of not just the Indian contingent there but also those of everyone back home.

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

Few in her sleepy village of Voosavanipeta in Andhra Pradesh or anywhere else in India for that matter would have dreamt of weightlifter Karnam Malleswari being India’s lone medallist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics – bronze in the 69kg category, with an effort of 110kg in snatch and 130kg in clean and jerk (240kg).

Only China’s Lin Weining (gold) and Hungary’s Erzsebet Markus (silver) were better on the day.

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From left: Hungary's Erzsebet Markus (silver medallist); China's Weining Lin (gold medallist) and India's Karnam Malleswari (bronze medallist) at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney.

 

The ‘Iron Lady’, as she was referred to then, later regretted her decision to go for 137.5kg in her third attempt in clean jerk. But for that wrong lift, she might have won gold.

Malleswari’s bronze was not a major surprise, given her grit and the fact that she had won two gold and two silver medals in the World championships and a few gold medals at the Asian level. However, the weightlifter’s brilliant performance in Sydney was a tribute to her efficacy.

By any yardstick, Malleswari’s fabulous feat in Sydney remains one of the most memorable chapters in India’s sporting history.

(Read the full article published in  The Hindu on July 23, 2016 )