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Jumping Jill
Anju Bobby George on a treadmill

Ace athlete Anju Bobby George is set to take her biggest stride at the Beijing Olympics Game next August. “My eyes are set on the Olympic medal now,” she smiles. Anju became the first Indian to win at the World Championships in athletics in Paris (2003) when she won a bronze medal for clearing 6.70m in Long Jump. She went on to bag the silver at the World Athletics Final in 2005.

“We haven’t got a training schedule yet but in January we’ll start with our international competitions,” she said at a recent product launch in Mumbai. The 30-year-old who started long jumps “when I was five years old”, says she owes her success to her parents’ guidance. “As a child you have a vision but parents are the guides who take it forward. Every child is good at something and parents must be able to spot the talents.”

Standing tall at 5-ft-10, Anju says her fitness mantra is simple: “Avoid junk food, do half an hour of stretching everyday, drink plenty of water and sleep for a minimum of four hours.” When asked about new-age fitness fads that are taking the world by storm, the Kerala wonder said: “I don’t know much about yoga..”

“New fitness techniques were developed in Europe first, then in the US and are now big business in India. It’s helping to spread fitness awareness among people so that’s good, but it shouldn’t become commercial. A balance must be maintained,” she feels.

In the world of Indian sport, cricket has always hogged the limelight and thanks to Bollywood, football has scored in recent times. “Even hockey,” adds Anju. “But there’s no sense in crying over which sport gets more importance. The cricket management works together, as a team, which is missing in other sports. It’s all about the management. After 2000, we got so many gold medals in different sporting arenas but… it’s up to the management to make a sport popular,” she points out.

Her role model' “No one, I do my own thing,” says the athlete, with a hint of pride. We share her pride too. Get one back for India, girl!

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