Monaco, 2 December (agency)
India’s legendary athlete Anju Bobby George has been awarded the Woman of the Year award by World Athletics for her work on cultivating talent and advocating for gender equality in the country. Anju (Paris 2003), the only Indian to win a medal at the World Championship, was selected for the honor during the annual awards online on Wednesday night. She is the first Indian to receive this award. This award is given to a woman who has dedicated her life to athletics. Anju is the second personality to receive this award. Before her, this award, which started in 2019, has been received by Ethiopia’s dual Olympic champion Deraartu Tulu. Legendary sprinter PT Usha was awarded the ‘Veteran Pin’ in 2019 for her contribution towards the development of sports.
World Athletics said in a release, “India’s Anju Bobby George, a former international long jump player, continues to be associated with the sport. She opened a training academy for young girls in 2016 which has resulted in a World Under 20 medalist. It said, “As Senior Vice President of the Athletics Federation of India, she has been a constant advocate of gender equality. She is also guiding the school girls for their future leadership in sports. Anju said that she is proud and overwhelmed to receive this honour. He tweeted, ‘There is nothing better feeling than waking up in the morning and doing something for the game. Thank you for appreciating my efforts.
Anju, who hails from Kerala, won a bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships in Paris in 2003 and was a gold medalist at the 2005 IAAF World Athletics Finals in Monaco. She had finished sixth at the 2004 Athens Olympics, but dropped to fifth after the US’s Marianne Jones was disqualified for doping. Last year, Anju was elected Senior Vice President of the Athletics Federation of India and is the first woman to reach such a high position. She was recently inducted into the Executive Committee of the Indian Olympic Association as a representative of the Athletes’ Commission. Shelly Singh, who was traced by Anju and trained under her husband Bobby George, recently won a silver medal at the World Under 20 Championships in long jump. Olympic champion Alain Thompson Herrah of Jamaica and Kirsten Warholm of Norway were named Athlete of the Year. Earlier these awards were called World Athletics Gala Awards.