Anju George touch new low, fails in all three attempts

Beijing, Aug 19 (UNI) Unfit Anju George's career graph touched its nadir as the star long jumper fouled all her three attempts and failed to qualify for the finals of the event in the Olympic track and field competition here today.

For the 31-year-old jumper, the word 'No Mark' against her name in the result sheet will be a sort of stigma as she was expected to be the star performer of the Indian camp.

That she will not win a medal here was a foregone conclusion given the field but it was expected that she will at least qualify for the final or if not, finish somewhere near the finalists.

But the Chennai based customs officer stunned her supporters with a disastrous show as she just could not take off in her first attempt and ran over the crossing line.

In her next two attempts she over jumped the line and earned the dubious distinction of not having a single clean jump in this Olympics along with two other jumpers - Bahamas's Jacqueline Edwards and Jana Edwards of Slovakia.

''I am shattered, I was confident of doing well but I started having pain in my right foot during the trial jump in the morning,'' Anju told mediapersons after her jump.

''I am not able to fathom how this pain started, I have not been able to identify the reason for this sudden trouble in my right ankle,' she said adding that she still decided to take part in the event because it is the Olympics.

Anju claimed that in the morning she was confident of qualifying for the final in her first attempt itself because,''I was optimistic of doing better here then what I had done in Athens.'' ''I will be going for the treatment of my right foot, it may four to six months and only after that I will plan my training but I am still baffled how it happened,'' she said.

Asked whether she was planning for the 2012 Olympics, she replied,''how can I say anything now, let us see what happens, four years is a long period.'' Anju had recorded an opening jump of 6.83 metres in Athens, but could not go beyond that, finishing sixth. That mark has remained the national record. That was easily the best year for the jumper.

The Indian hasn't had a great season after that though she won the silver at the World Athletics Final in 2005. Subsequent years proved rather ordinary, with just a ninth place in the World Championships last year in Osaka.

This year, before coming here, Anju had not gone past 6.55 metres, a mark she recorded at three different meets. But this morning she could not achieve even that much and her hopes that she would make this the ''most memorable moment'' of her career ended tragically with no mark.

American Britney Reese topped the 12 qualifiers who made it to the final with a jump of 6.87m though her personal best is 6.95m.

Brazil's Maurren Higa Maggi was placed second with 6.79m (PB 6.99m) followed by Ukraine's Lyudmilla Blonska who jumped 6.76m while defending champion Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia with 6.70m was placed fourth (PB 6.88m).


Story first published: Tuesday, August 19, 2008, 11:33 [IST]
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