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Anju aims for better show at elite Monaco event

Rajeev D Pai | September01, 2003 17:37 IST

With the World Athletics Championships long jump bronze medal in her kitty, Anju Bobby George is now focussing on the challenges ahead.

First on her list is the inaugural World Athletics Final at the Stade Louis II in the tiny principality of Monaco on September 13 and 14.

The event, a brand new concept, replaces the annual Grand Prix Final, which concluded each summer season until last year.

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The elite World Athletics Final will feature 33 disciplines spread over two days. Qualification will be decided by the individual event ranking positions of athletes in the IAAF world rankings as of September 7.

Anju, who was ranked eighth in the world coming in to the World Championships, is now likely to move up at least four slots, her husband and coach Bobby George said.

George told rediff.com on telephone from Paris that Anju expects to improve her performance at the Final. "Anju was tired coming into the Championships after the Berlin Grand Prix," he said, "and the qualification round and the final round are like taking part in two separate competitions within a span of three days.

"But now she will have a two-week break before the World Athletics Final and there is no qualification round, so she should be in better shape for the main event."

World champion Eunice Barber of France and silver medallist Tatyana Kotova of Russia are certain to be at the Final.

Bobby George said world heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft of Sweden, who had won the Stockholm Grand Prix last month, an event at which Anju won the silver, is also likely to be among the eight jumpers at the event as a wild card.

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After this event, Anju and Bobby George will return to New Delhi. Bobby George said Anju is unlikely to take part in the Asian Track and Field at Manila, the Philippines, on September 23 and 24, because it comes too soon after the World Championships and the World Final.

But she will certainly take part in the Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad in the last week of October. "It is an honour to represent your country at home and win a medal," Bobby George said.

Moreover, a gold medal is almost guaranteed for Anju at the Hyderabad Games, because she's the top jumper in Asia and there's no world-ranked jumper in Africa either.

Bobby George also said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has announced a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh (approximately US $54,500) for Anju for her performance at the World Championships and Rs 3,00,000 for her coach. Both Anju and Bobby George work in the customs department and are posted in Chennai.


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