Kochi: Olympian Anju Bobby George, who secured a historic bronze medal in the 2003 World Athletics Championship in Paris, on Monday said she achieved success and reached the top with a single kidney.
In a tweet, the ace athlete, a gold medallist in the IAAF World Athletics Finals (Monaco, 2005), said she had many limitations, including being allergic to even a painkiller, but still made it.
“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,” Anju tweeted.
Her career blossomed under the coaching of husband Robert Bobby George.
Anju said she chose the pandemic season to make this revelation to “motivate” all the sportspersons in the current generation, who are missing their practice and competitions due to the spread of the deadly virus.
“The general perception of the people is that I have a perfect body. But the fact is that I achieved all the success in my field by overcoming all difficulties. I hope that sharing of my experience will help motivate all aspiring sportspersons,” she said.
She said she complained of fatigue while in Germany for a competition in 2003 and doctors there advised her rest for six months and not to even think about sports “It was just 20 days ahead of the Paris World Athletics Championship. I overcame all the issues and won a medal in Paris,” she said.
Anju came to know she was living with a single kidney during an overall health check-up in Bengaluru 2001 due to some health issues before starting her international career.
“It was shocking news for me. But Bobby (husband) motivated me to continue my career and achieve success. He even offered his kidney if I face any problem,” she said.
Anju said she was now mature enough to handle the situation brought about by her health issues.
“If I had gone public with my health then, the situation would have been different,” Anju said.
Responding to her tweet, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said she brought laurels to India through her hard work, grit and determination.
“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!” the minister said in his response to her tweet.
The Athletics Federation of India said as India's only medallist at the IAAF World Championships (Paris, 2003), a gold medallist in the IAAF World Athletics Finals (Monaco, 2005) and a remarkably consistent performer, Anju is among the country's most inspirational track and field stars.
She finished sixth at the 2004 Olympics with a personal best leap of 6.83m, but was elevated to fifth place in 2007 when USA’s Marion Jones was disqualified for a doping offence.