Securing a place on the medal podium is the dream of every sportsperson especially in a country like India where women are not encouraged to take up sports. There was one girl who filled hopes and dreams in the eyes of many young girls and women of the country; she was Karnam Malleswri, India’s first female Olympic medalist.
Malleswri was born on 1st June 1975 in Srikakulam District at Andhra Pradesh. She started her training at an early age of 12 years under the guidance of Coach Neelamshetty Appanna. She has four sisters and all are professionally trained in weight lifting. For the betterment of her game and advanced training, she moved to Delhi.
She started training under the Sports Authority of India (SAI). She secured a bronze medal in the 1993 Melbourne World Championship. In the year 1994, she won a gold medal in the Istanbul World Championship. In the same year, she also bagged a silver medal at the Hiroshima Asian Games.
In 1995 she won Gold Medal at the Guangzhou World Championship and marked her name in the history books. Continuing her medal streak at the world championship, she again won Bronze Medal at the 1996 Guangzhou World Championship. In 1998 Bangkok Asian Games Malleswri won a Silver Medal and then she trained harder and qualified for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Karnam Malleswri at Olympic Podium
She lifted a weight of 130kg in “Clean and Jerk” and 110kg in the “Snatch” category which makes a total weight of 240kg. This awarded her a bronze medal in the Olympics. She became the first Indian Olympic gold medalist and the only Indian woman weightlifter to win a medal at the Olympic Games.
She holds a record of 29 international medals in which 11 are Gold Medals. She was also awarded Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in the year 1999, Arjuna Award in the year 1994, and Padma Shri in the year 1999 by the government of India.
By achieving this medal she inspired many young female athletes of the country and showed them that they can achieve anything they dream of with sheer hard work and determination. Malleswri is a true inspiration for the female athletes of India.
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