The athlete dropped one of the biggest secrets of her career on social media.
Anju Bobby George created history back in 2003 when she won a bronze medal for long jump event at the World Championships in Paris, France. She became the first Indian lady to achieve this feat and remains the only female athlete to win a medal at the world championships as of yet.
After a gap of 17 years, she took to Twitter recently to unveil a shocking truth which makes her achievement back then even more bewildering. Anju revealed that she competed with only a single functioning kidney, was allergic to painkillers and had a dead take-off leg.
Apparently, the now-retired athlete was born with a solitary kidney and still worked her way to the top owing to immense determination. This news was revealed to her about a year after qualifying for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
She spoke to the Times Of India regarding this incident and expressed that, “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.”
“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 43-year-old further added.
This revelation became a trending topic and many high-profile figures responded to her and expressed their admiration.
Kiren Rijiju, the current Minister of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, also tweeted and said, “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!”
While Anju Bobby George credits her husband and coach for motivating her and supporting her in the crucial stages of her career, it goes without saying that her story has become a reference point for all the budding athletes of the nation to take inspiration from.
“Earlier, I was ashamed and afraid to reveal that I was living with one kidney. But now I’m mature enough to reveal this condition. I’m confident that I can inspire others by telling them what I have achieved battling this condition,” Anju concluded.