Pune:While many say that Anju Bobby George's career is on a downslide and that she is past her prime, the athlete is confident of qualifying for the World Championships in August.
Anju and her husband-coach are in fact looking at bettering the grade at the Athletics World Championships - the same competition where she won her Bronze medal four years ago.
Arguably India's best and most successful athlete, Anju has not made it to 6.60 metre mark in the three competitions in India. But unlike the Indian Cricket Team Anju has always performed better outside the country.
"It's a fact that I am always doing my best outside India and here I am always doing alone. So I am quite sure that I can do it there," said Anju Bobby George.
"The competition level will be higher and I can compete with all top athletes because only the world top athletes will get entry in such competitions so we all will be doing in the same level. And it's not sure who will get the medals. The competition level will be higher and the anxiety will also be higher. We can enjoy the competition and at the same time get experience too," she said.
Eyeing the Olympics
Before the World Championships this August in Osaka, Anju plans to compete in at least five competitions in Europe and Asia including the Afro-Asian Games in the Algiers.
She is confident of coming in the top six but all her efforts are ultimately towards one medal - the only one which is missing from her collection - an Olympic Medal.
"We are on a long build up to Olympic Games. So it's not really this year's competition. All these compoetitions are all build ups towards Beijing Olympics. It's a dream of a billion people. We have to realise that and we are on that mission," said Bobby Geroge, Anju's coach.
"Each and every year's training is a bit different. We will be experimenting with new training methods. We have to break the seven-meter barrier that's the main important thing and I think definitely next year by June July she can do that," he added.
Empty stands, poor weather and playing conditions and not an ideal atmosphere - but that doesn't mean that Anju is short of a fan following.
And there was one very prominent well wisher who was there to cheer her on as she attempted that 6.60-metre mark, someone who shares Anju's passion for getting medals for the country.
"Definitely she will qualify for the World champiosnhips. I am confident because of the way she trains. I was watching her train in Bangalore SAI and all over she was very dedicated and passionate for winning medals for the country," said Dhanraj Pillay, former Indian Hockey captain.