Karnam Malleswari - Torch-bearer for women in Olympics

Karnam Malleswari is the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Olympics and first Indian woman weightlifter to win gold at the World Championships.

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu made India proud by getting India’s first medal at Tokyo Olympics 2021. She won silver medal in weightlifting am being the first Indian lifter to do so. But, most of us realized now about first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal in 2000 (Sydney). She won Bronze medal in weightlifting in 2000. Let us remember Honorable Karnam Malleswari.

Karnam Malleswari :-

She was born on 1 June 1975, Voosavanipeta near Amadalavalasa, a hamlet in Andhra Pradesh. Her father Karnam Manohar was a college-level football player. She has four sisters. They are all well trained in weightlifting. It was her mother Shyamala, who encouraged and became her strength till the end Karnam Malleswari to pursue a dream. Her career started when she was 12. She was trained under coach Neelamshetty Appanna.

I feel proud to have created this pathway for our girls and to see them winning Olympic medals. Some even tell me today, ‘Ma’am you started it all’, so I feel delighted to have changed the perception, and it still remains my endeavor.

But Neelamshetty Appanna turned her away for being too weak and thin. Her mom encouraged her to keep going by training hard and proving herself that she can be whoever she wants to be. She was then noticed by Olympic and world champion Leonid Taranenko at a national camp ahead of 1990 Asian camp as a visitor since her sister Krishna Kumari, was selected for the camp. After testing her, he recommend her to the Bangalore Sports Institute.

It was her time to start shining, she broke 9 records in junior national weightlifting championships in 1990; which was her first championship.


  • Silver in her maiden senior national championship in 1990.
  • Bronze in her first weightlifting World Championships in 1993.
  • Gold in her next weightlifting World Championships in 1994, making her the first Indian woman weightlifter to win gold at the World Championships.
  • Silver at the 1994 Asian Games.
  • Malleswari won the world title in the 54 kg division in 1994 and 1995. Gold in World Championships in 1995.
  • Bronze in the World Championships in 1996. – Four consecutive medals in World Championships-
  • Silver at the 1998 Asian Games.
  • Bronze in the Olympics Game at Sydney in 2000.

In 1997, she married a fellow weightlifter Rajesh Tyagi, and in 2001 gave birth to a son. She took a maternity leave in 2001. She went to The Olympics at Athens in 2004 but due to severe back injury, she couldn’t give her best. She had to retire after that.

What is she doing now?

She works as the Chief General Manager (General Administration) of Food Corporation of India; Yamunanagar, Haryana.


  1. Honored with Arujna Award in 1994.
  2. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 1999.
  3. Padma Shri Award in 1999.


On International Olympic Day 2021, the Delhi government appointed India’s first woman Olympic medal winner Karnam Malleshwari as the first vice-chancellor of Delhi Sports University.




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