At 37, Karnam Malleswari seems to have developed interest in numbers even as there were reports that a film was being planned on her. For, this 2000 Sydney Olympics bronze medallist in weightlifting, showed a lot of interest when she was felicitated by numerologist Daivagna Sharma on Wednesday.
For someone who was the first-ever Indian woman athlete to win an Olympic medal, Malleswari was in a different world altogether at the simple function attended by the Information Technology Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah.
Malleswari said that she took pride in being called ‘mana Malleswari’ every time she visited Andhra Pradesh. “Honestly, there were many who keep asking me what were the rewards I got for winning the Olympics medal. Now, when I hear these touching comments, I feel that this sort of affection is priceless and more valuable than any amount of money you could expect for,” she remarked.
“Definitely, I am saddened at the standard of sports in general despite awareness thanks to the media and also many opportunities now available for the youngsters,” says Malleswari for whom it has been a terrific journey from the depths of despair to moments of joy when it all began in Amuladavalasa of Srikakulam district under the tutelage of her first coach Nelamshetty Appanna of SAAP.
“I wish all my dreams are realised soon and that includes setting up a world class weightlifting academy in the city which would be my first preference if I am allotted the site,” Malleswari said. She recalled that after her Olympics medal there was an offer for a site in this regard but she could not pursue the matter since she was busy with the preparations for the 2004 Athens Olympics.
For his part, Ponnala Lakshmaiah promised all support to Malleswari for any of her plans to promote sport and bring laurels to the State and the country.