Karnam Malleswari put India on the global map with her remarkable feat at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Despite societal pressure and training challenges, Karnam went on to work harder at proving her mettle. Her bronze win at the game made her the first Indian woman to bag an Olympic medal.
Karnam was hailed as the ‘Iron Lady of Andhra’. She was the only athlete in the 65-member Indian contingent in Sydney to secure a medal in that year’s Olympic games. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Karnam Malleswari’s iconic win at the Olympics.
Here are 7 lesser-known facts about Karna Malleswari
1. She received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 1995 and the Padma Shri in 1999
2. In 1994, she won gold at the World Weightlifting Championships in Istanbul
3. Malleswari was born in Voosavanipeta, Andhra Pradesh. She has four sisters, who are well trained in weightlifting
4. She withdrew from the 2002 Commonwealth games due to the sudden death of her father
5. She married fellow weightlifter Rajesh Tyagi in 1997. The two have a son who was born in 2001
6. She failed to score in the 2004 Athens Olympics and retired soon after that
7. She is currently living in Yamunanagar and is employed with the Food Corporation of India
While there have been many Olympic medals by female athletes since Karnam, she will always remain the trailblazer who changed the stigma attached to a male-dominated sport.
Her passion and phenomenal achievements have paved the pay for future female sports enthusiasts in the country. Meanwhile, Karnam’s belief and motivation still provides a beacon of hope in this new era.
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