Hyderabad: It was 16 summers ago, when a lithe J Javur Shobha dazzled at her best in the Athens Olympics in 2004. She may not have won a medal but she captured the hearts of her undying fans, with a truly gritty performance in heptathlon. Injury had denied her glory but she swayed the supporters with her never-say-die attitude and approach.
The South Central Railway Sports Officer’s pugnacious show at Athens was one of the high points of her glittering career. In recent times, she was in the news when she and her husband Ajay Kumar Bharti, a former centre-half in hockey and now a golfer, made a representation through SATS chairman Venkateshwar Reddy, to State IT minister KT Rama Rao for the much-awaited plot of land from the State Government.
Having retired in 2009 and having given representation for a piece of a plot for 14 years, this athlete is yet to see the light. “I feel very sad that despite repeated petitions and letters I have not got any response from the government. We recently met KTR sir to make another representation.
“Players like Mithali Raj or PV Sindhu have been allotted plots of lands but unfortunately I have been deprived of that honour. I was an Olympian, won two bronze medals in Asian Games (2002 and 2006), one gold in Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad in 2003, was part of the 400m relay squad in 2002 Asian Games that won gold and also a gold in Asian Championship. There should be a uniform policy,’’ lamented Shobha, who although was born in Hospet in Karnataka but has settled down in Hyderabad after joining SCR in the early 2000.
Since it is Olympic time, Shobha went down the memory lane. “That knee injury while hurling the javelin spear killed my hopes of a possible medal in Athens. I had a reasonable chance as I had completed 100m, high jump, shot put and 200m on the first day. On the fateful second day, a disaster was waiting as while hurling the javelin I tore a ligament on my left knee. It was a painful and very horrifying sight. I hobbled and bandaged my knee to run the 800m race. It was one of the bitter Olympics,’’ said, who finished 11th with 6172 points.
Incidentally, after Soma Biswas, Pramila Aiyappa and Shobha, no Indian has qualified for heptathlon in Olympics. “There were great hopes when Swapna Barman won gold in the 2018 Asian Games but injuries shattered her hopes. This event requires a lot of patience and hard work,’’ she said.
Shobha in recent times has followed in the footsteps of her husband, Ajay Bharti,, who is an amateur golfer. “I have been practicing with my husband. It is good fun.’’
Meanwhile, Bharti, who took to golf in 2006 after retiring from hockey, said he plans to become a professional under coach Sanjay Singh. “I need to play lot of tournaments and it is a big challenge.’’
Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.