Manju Bala is an Indian track and field athlete who competes in the hammer throw. She secured the first position in the 2022 National Inter State Senior Athletics Championships, Chennai, in hammer throw after which she was named in India’s 37-member Athletics contingent for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. She was also selected to represent India in the 2022 Asian Games.
Manju Bala Swami was born on 1 July 1989 (age 33 years; as of 2022) in Chandgothi, Churu district, Rajasthan, India. Inclined towards sports since childhood, Manju played volleyball till class 9. One day, she went on a school trip to Jaisinghsar near Bikaner, where she first saw an athlete hurling a metal ball with a chain attached to it. Manju immediately hooked on the sport and started practising it after returning home. Later, she was spotted by coach Rajesh Poonia who trained her. Thereafter, Manju went on to win a bronze at school nationals and gold at junior national. She finished 4th at the Asian Junior Athletics Championship in Jakarta. In an interview, she recalled her father’s struggles in raising three athlete kids and said,
Our father never stopped us from choosing a sport. He would take loans from fellow villagers to help us pursue sports. He sent my brother Sandeep to practice at NIS Patiala. When Munish opted for boxing, my father would request bus drivers passing through the village to get her gloves from Jalandhar. When I started, a hammer would cost Rs 800. He would do extra hours at the tea stall to meet the costs. He would leave home early and return late.”
After her marriage, she moved to Ladunda, Surajgarh Tehsil, in the Jhunjhunu District of Rajasthan. She is an Income Tax Inspector.
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Her father, Vijay Singh, runs a tea stall on the Rajgarh-Pilani road in Chandgothi. Manju’s brother, Sandeep Kumar Swami, is deaf and dumb. He won a gold medal in the javelin throw at the nationals for special athletes. Meanwhile, Manju’s younger sister, Munesh Bala Swami, is a boxer and a police officer in Rajasthan.
Manju Bala with her father Vijay Singh at his tea stall in Chandgothi
Manju Bala’s brother, Sandeep Kumar Swami, and mother
Manju Bala with her sister, Munesh Bala Swami
Husband & Children
Her husband, Ramesh Mann, is a soldier in the Indian Army. Together, the couple has a daughter (born in 2016) whom family members fondly call ‘Chinu’ and ‘China.’
A picture of Manju Bala with her husband, Ramesh Mann, and daughter
- 2021 Rajasthan State Championship, Sri Ganganagar (64.88m)
- 2022 National Inter State Senior Athletics Championships, Chennai (64.19)
- 2021 National Open Athletics Championships, Warangal (64.42m)
Manju Bala (centre) at the 2021 National Open Athletics Championships, Warangal
- 2021 National Inter State Senior Athletics Championships, Patiala (61.08m)
- 2019 National Inter State Senior Athletics Championships, Lucknow (57.71)
- 2014 National Inter State Senior Athletics Championships, Lucknow (62.74m)
- 2014 Federation Cup, Patiala (62.15m)
- 2012 Railways Championships, Jabalpur (59.77m)
- 2011 National Games of India, Ranchi (56.73m)
- 2022 National Federation Cup, Thenhipalam (64.01m)
- 2014 Asian Games, Incheon (60.47m)
Manju Bala (right) at 2014 Asian Games, Incheon
- Her bronze medal from the 2014 Asian Games, Incheon, upgraded to silver for a short while after the original gold winner Zhang Wenxiu failed a doping test. However, Zhang Wenxiu was handed back her gold medal when she successfully overturned the doping ban after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld her appeal, stating that her positive case resulted from contaminated food.
- During the 2021 National Open Athletics Championships, Warangal, Manju Bala broke the 19-year-old record of the meet. She created the record of 64.42m surpassing Hardeep Kaur’s 2002 record of 61.67m. Her 64.42m throw was also recorded as the second-best national record in the women’s hammer throw after Sarita Romit Singh’s 65.25m throw.
- After her marriage, she trained under her husband, Ramesh Mann. In an interview, she talked about her supportive in-laws and said,
My husband Ramesh Mann is a soldier in the Indian Army. Sometimes he trains with me at 4 am in our village Ladhundha in Jhunjhunu district. At times, my mother-in-law too would accompany us. The villagers would wonder what we were up to, drawing circles in empty fields and throwing a metal ball.”
- She is the recipient of the Maharana Pratap Award (2012-13) in the category of athletics.