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August 9, 2004

The flag bearer

Photograph and Text: M D Riti

"Do the shuffle and then take off," calls out a tall young man, dressed in blue track pants and shirt. "Then do the baby Bs and the big Bs."

The slim, tall young woman is deep in concentration and only nods in answer. She makes her way down the stadium track, shuffling rapidly.

The setting sun makes a perfect background for India's best hope at Athens -- Anju Bobby George. The athlete who will lead the Indian team at the Olympic inauguration ceremony.

The 27-year-old long jumper and her husband Bobby George wear similar sunglasses and are entirely on their own at the Sports Authority of India in Bangalore, completing the last phase of their speed training in India.

A couple of other athletes rehearse on the synthetic tracks as the Georges unpack their fancy training equipment. Anju claspes Bobby’s hand lightly as she rocks gently on a calf stretcher. met the couple just before they left for Europe on what Bobby describes as their personal road to Athens.


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