Olympian Anju Bobby George, one of India’s most illustrious track and field athlete, on Monday said she achieved all her sporting success with a single functional kidney.

She had scripted her historic first for India with a bronze medal in the 2003 World Athletics Championship in Paris. But she was not fully fit when she competed there.

In a tweet, the gold medallist in the IAAF World Athletics Finals (Monaco, 2005), said she had many limitations, including being allergic to even a painkiller, but still made it.

Anju said she chose the pandemic season to make this revelation to motivate all the sportspersons in the current generation, who are missing their practice and competitions due to coronavirus.

“The general perception of the people is that I have a perfect body. But the fact is that I achieved all the success in my field by overcoming all difficulties. I hope that sharing of my experience will help motivate all aspiring sportspersons,” she told PTI.

Anju said doctors in Germany had advised her six months rest just 20 days ahead of the 2003 World Athletics Championship in Paris. She said she complained of fatigue while in Germany for a competition in 2003 and doctors there advised her rest for six months and not to even think about sports.

“It was just 20 days ahead of the Paris World Athletics Championship. I overcame all the issues and won a medal in Paris,” she said.

Anju came to know she was living with a single kidney during an overall health check-up in Bengaluru 2001 due to some health issues before starting her international career.

“It was shocking news for me. But Bobby (husband) motivated me to continue my career and achieve success. He even offered his kidney if I face any problem”, she said.

Anju said she was now mature enough to handle the situation brought about by her health issues. “If I had gone public with my health then, the situation would have been different,” Anju said.

She is India’s only medallist at the IAAF World Championships (Paris, 2003), a gold medallist in the IAAF World Athletics Finals (Monaco, 2005). She finished sixth in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens with a personal best leap of 6.83m, but was elevated to fifth place in 2007 when the United States of Americas Marion Jones was disqualified for a doping offence.

“Her gold medal in the Asian Games in Busan in 2002 with a jump of 6. 53m was an early indication of things to come the following couple of years. From a 5.98m jumper in 1996, her rise was encouraging but she stagnated a little before blossoming fully under the coaching of husband Robert Bobby George,” the Athletics Federation said.

With PTI Inputs