Retired athlete Anju Bobby George on Monday revealed that she achieved success as a sportsperson with a “single kidney”. In a tweet, the athlete who clinched a historic bronze medal at the 2003 World Athletics Championship held in Paris, revealed that despite the physical challenges of her condition, she still “made it” with hard work. “Believe it or not, I’m one of the fortunate, among very few who reached the world top with a single KIDNEY, allergic with even a painkiller, with a dead takeoff leg…Many limitations..still made it. Can we call, magic of a coach or his talent,” the 43-year-old long jumper, who finished sixth at an event in the 2004 Olympic Games sixteen years ago, tweeted.
George was just 26 years old when she went on to win the long jump bronze with a season’s best of 6.70m. She became the first and only Indian to finish on podium at a World athletics meet.
Believe it or not, I'm one of the fortunate, among very few who reached the world top with a single KIDNEY, allergic with even a painkiller, with a dead takeoff leg.. Many limitations. still made it. Can we call, magic of a coach or his talent @KirenRijiju @afiindia @Media_SAI pic.twitter.com/2kbXoH61BX
— Anju Bobby George (@anjubobbygeorg1) December 7, 2020
Seventeen years later, George has finally opened up about her health issues. “It’s a condition by birth. As a result, my recovery was always slow and the level of urea in my blood was always high. I had frequent joint pains and when I tried to manage the condition with painkillers, I often lost consciousness and had to be rushed to the hospital. I had a family history of allergy to medicines and this made my condition worse,” George told TOI.
Responding to her tweet, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju wrote, “Anju, it’s your hard work, grit and determination to bring laurels for India supported by the dedicated coaches and the whole technical backup team. We are so proud of you being the only Indian so far to win a medal in the World Athletic Championship!”
Anju, it's your hard work, grit and determination to bring laurels for India supported by the dedicated coaches and the whole technical backup team. We are so proud of you being the only Indian so far to win a medal in the World Athletic Championship! https://t.co/8O7EyhF2ZC pic.twitter.com/qhH2PQOmNe
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) December 7, 2020
“I underwent further tests in 2001 when it was found that I was born with just one kidney. I was worried whether I could continue but doctors assured me that I could continue with athletics as I didn’t face any major problems,” the 2005 IAAF World Athletics gold medallist further added.
Currently, George is the chairperson of the Indian Olympic Association’s Athletes Commission. She lives in Bengaluru, now runs the Anju Bobby Sports Foundation in Bengaluru with husband Robert Bobby George. In September last year, the Union Sports Ministry had sanctioned rupees five crore for the development of Anju Bobby George Athletics Academy. “The academy has been planned on a five-acre plot of land which has been leased to us. Currently, we are training five athletes and as a first step, we will soon start ten athletes,” George had said about the plan for her academy, adding, “Once the facility is ready, we aim to take 30 athletes and train them.” Read more about her academy here.
Feature Image Credit: India.com