With 61 medals in international competitions under her belt, veteran weightlifter N. Kunjarani Devi has a burning desire to fulfil in her career spanning nearly two decades -- to win an Olympic medal.
"The preparations are good. If God is with me, I will surely bring a medal for India," the 38-year-old Manipuri lifter said at the Sports Authority of India's South Centre in Bangalore.
Athens is her first Olympic appearance and she obviously wants to make the most of it with chief coach Pal Singh Sandhu and the Belarussian coach Leonid Taranenko egging her on.
Both believe she is a medal prospect.
Kunjarani said she was looking forward to her participation in Athens and had done everything that was possible, in terms of practice and training.
"Winning a medal depends on luck", a cautious Kunjarani hastened to add. "I am working for gold like anybody else in the competition. I will give my best performance."
For "Kunju" as she is known to her friends, performance was not linked to age so long as the competitor had the determination, courage, mental strength and the fire in the belly to deliver, and firmly rejected suggestions that her age was a liability.
"Age is not a matter or factor," the lifter, who underwent knee operations twice, said categorically. "If the person has the courage, determination and is mentally strong, he or she can do everything in life."
To drive home the point, Kunjarani remarked she did not find any difference when she started weightlifting in 1985 and now. "I don't have such feelings (regarding her age). I am never thinking that I am not improving. I have gained more experience over the years."
The veteran weightlifter said she had no plans to call it a day after the Olympics and could even go on for a few more years.
"I am not contemplating retirement after the Olympics. If my body is fit, I will go on for another two to four years," informed the diminutive lifter.
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