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Southern States - Andhra Pradesh-Hyderabad Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

A 'golden gift' for the home crowd

By V. V. Subrahmanyam

HYDERABAD OCT. 29. It was a delayed Diwali gift from one of the better-known athletes from the city, J. J. Shobha.

For someone who was recovering from a serious injury after a gold-medal winning performance in the last National Games, it was a grand comeback for this South Central Railway head clerk, who delighted the home crowd winning the Heptathlon gold in the inaugural Afro-Asian Games athletics competition at the GMC Balayogi Stadium here, on Wednesday.

A product of the not-so fully equipped Railway Recreation Club Grounds here, Shobha is known in the circuit for her determination to achieve something more under trying circumstances. "Where are the facilities?" was her oft-repeated query till the last National Games. Now, the 26-year-old Kannadiga, settled in Hyderabad since 1996, believes that this gold should script a new chapter at the highest level. "I am thrilled to win the gold in front of my home crowd and that too in an inter-continental competition," she said.

The silver medal went to Robbeson Justine of South Africa (5587 points). Incidentally, her country-mate and `rival' in the domestic circuit, Soma Biswas, won the bronze with 5532 points.

Giving due credit to her coach, Yuri from Ukraine, Shobha, feels that but for the injury after the National Games she would have been in a much better frame of mind. "After the Busan Asian Games bronze, I was looking forward to a bright future in the big league. But destiny deemed it otherwise and I had to miss out on important events in recent months," she said.

Her next target is to cross the 6,000-barrier. "Qualifying for Olympics is a real tough proposition and let me first enjoy the feeling of winning a gold here," she said. No doubt, the best of the competitors especially from China and Central Republics of Russia were missing at the Games, but it still is a creditable performance worth recognition for the simple reason she was the best in the fray in the Heptathlon event.

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