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75 years of independence: Iconic moments from Indian sports – Karnam Malleswari wins bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics

India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging greatest sporting achievements by Indian athletes.

Weightlifter Karnam Malleswari wins bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (69 kg category)

Weightlifter Karnam Malleswari, the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Summer Olympics in Sydney in 2000, raised the enthusiasm of everyone back home as well as the Indian presence there.

Few in her small Andhra Pradesh town of Voosavanipeta, or anywhere else in India for that matter, would have imagined that weightlifter Karnam Malleswari would win bronze in the 69 kg category at the 2000 Sydney Olympics after lifting 110 kg in the snatch and 130 kg in the clean and jerk (240kg).

On the day, only Lin Weining of China (gold) and Erzsebet Markus of Hungary (silver) performed better.

The ‘Iron Lady,’ as she was known at the time, subsequently came to regret her choice to attempt 137.5kg on her third clean jerk attempt. She might have won gold had it not been for one incorrect lift.

Given her perseverance, her two gold, two silver, and several gold medals at the World championships, Malleswari’s bronze medal performance was not entirely unexpected. The weightlifter’s outstanding performance in Sydney, though, was a testament to her effectiveness.

By any standard, Malleswari’s incredible achievement in Sydney continues to rank among the most enduring moments in India’s sporting past.


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