Karnam Malleswari wants her students to lift India's Olympic dreams

Indian weightlifting great already runs an academy in Haryana and is looking to open up one more in Andhra Pradesh.

By Utathya Nag

Sydney 2000 Games bronze medallist Karnam Malleswari still dreams of bringing India more Olympic medals.

The weightlifter, the first Indian woman to bag an Olympic medal, is on a quest to nurture upcoming lifters in the country through her academies. She is also hopeful some of them can bring home a few Olympic golds.

“I want to see a few of my trainees win Olympic medals, preferably gold, which I couldn’t win,” she told The Hindu in a recent interview.

Having retired from the sport in 2004, the 45-year-old, along with her weightlifter husband Rajesh Tyagi, opened her first academy in Yamunanagar, Haryana, three years back.

She, however, hopes to open up more.

“I am already running an academy and I am now looking to build a residential academy that will hopefully be of international standards and can house up to 300 students," she had noted in an earlier interview.

Young prospects identified

Karnam Malleswari has already earmarked her home state of Andhra Pradesh as the site for her second facility.

"Some time ago, I undertook an extensive tour of the North-Coastal Andhra belt (Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam) which has a lot of weightlifting talent.

“I even identified some of the best young prospects. Young talent needs support on all fronts and that’s why I am keen to set up an academy in Andhra Pradesh and produce Olympic medallists,” she said.

Plans for the project have been on the table for some time now, but ground is yet to be broken.

Earlier this month, a biopic on Karnam Malleswari’s life, portraying her journey from her village to the Olympic podium at Sydney, was announced on her 45th birthday.

The movie will be directed by Sanjana Reddy and produced by Kona Venkat and MVV Satyanarayana. To be made in Telugu, it will also be dubbed in Hindi and Tamil.