Until the 19th of September 2000, only the Indian men could boast of having secured medals at the Olympics for the country. And in one swoop, Karnam Malleswari changed all of that and paved the way for the continued success of Indian women at the Summer Games ever since.
Malleswari lifted 110 kilograms and 130 kilograms in the ‘snatch’ and ‘clean and jerk’ categories respectively and won herself a place in the annals of Indian sporting history. Even two decades later, while, Indian women have won in other events, Karanam Malleswari remains the only woman weightlifter to have secured a medal for the country at the Olympics.
Even prior to the Olympic triumph, Malleswari had been flying the tricolor high at the World Championships and the Asian Games. She is a two-time world champion, two-time silver medalist at Asian Games amongst various other victories & medals she won in her illustrious career.
And yet for all her other achievements, the bronze at the Olympics is the most significant one of her career. She became the inspiration for girls across the length and breath of the country, and made them believe that through sheer grit and hard work, they could also be Olympic champions one day.