Busan: They say there is a woman behind every successful man. It can be the other way round too, as in Anju Bobby George’s case.
The 25-year-old long jumper struck gold at the Asian Games Monday and promptly gave the credit to husband and coach Robert Bobby George.
“He’s been my main inspiration. It’s because of his hard work that I have reached this level today,” said a beaming Anju.
She was expecting the gold. “The Chinese and the Japanese performances have gone down in this event and I was No. 1 in Asia going by my distances. Bobby and I would have been very disappointed if I didn’t take gold,” said the SAI Bangalore-based athlete.
Having done 6.74m twice this season, Bobby had set her sights on 6.8-plus. “Since the turf here is new, it was difficult to get a grip, otherwise I would have done much better.”
The Commonwealth Games silver was her first major medal. Monday’s gold tops that.
“It’s a big breakthrough. We tried out a new running technique after Commonwealth which is working well.”
P.T. Usha’s advice to treat this as the National Games, rather than the Asian Games, also helped her.
“Her tips are always very valuable,” said Anju who idolises Marion Jones.
Her coach expected a seven-metre effort. “She is capable of that,” said Bobby, who met Anju six years ago (“but it wasn’t love at first sight”).
“She’s had a lot of injury problems and had to miss the Sydney Olympics. Thanks to Ayurvedic treatment she got cured. Now she is in peak condition,” said the proud husband.
Can she repeat the feat in triple jump Saturday' “There is enough recovery time. One Chinese girl is very good but Anju can win bronze if not silver,” said Bobby, the youngest brother of India’s greatest volleyball player Jimmy George.
Anju’s next big event is the world championship later this year. “If I can maintain my form, I can get a medal at the world championship.”
Bobby, though, has set her eyes on an Olympic medal. “We have two years to work on that goal. I think she can do it.”