Award Name : Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
Year of Award : 1994
Award for : Sports and Games
Location : Srīkākulam, Andhra Pradesh, India
Karnam Malleswari is a retired Indian weightlifter. She won the world title in the 54 kg division in 1994 and 1995 and placed third in 1993 and 1996. She won another bronze medal at the 2000 Olympics, becoming the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal. In 1995 she received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India's highest sporting honour, and in 1999 the civilian Padma Shri award. She was born on 1 June 1975 in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh, India. Her first major success came when she got two gold medals and one bronze medal at World Championship conducted in Turkey in 1994. She came second in the competition but after few days when the first place winner, Wang Sheng of China was disqualified for using drugs, she came to the first place.
She set a new record in 54 kg class by lifting 113 kg and won three gold medals at the Asian championship in Korea. She was married in 1997 and moved to Yamuna Nagar in Haryana and took a short break in the sports. After a short break she participated in 1998 Bangkok Asian Games in 1998 and won silver medal. However she lost in the 1999 Athens World Weight Lifting Championships. She won bronze medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics at Sydney thus becoming the first ever Indian woman to win an Olympic medal in weightlifting.