Anju Bobby George's Beijing Olympic campaign finished in a horrendous nightmare with the lanky long jumper injuring her ankle in trials and failing to post a single leap in the qualifying round in Beijing on Tuesday.
With dropped shoulders a grimacing Anju limped off the magnificent Bird's Nest stadium as her hopes for a place in the final laying in tatters with an NM (No Mark) tag against her name.
Anju's goose was cooked in the trial itself when she hurt her ankle joint and though she tried her best to defy the injury and give it a go, her campaign was grounded before it could really take off.
"Once I injured the ankle in trials, I knew what lies in store. Still, instead of backtracking, I decided to give it a go. After all, this is Olympics and I have put in a lot of efforts just for this occasion," Anju said.
"But I guess once you injure your take-off ankle, you really don't have anything to do," a dejected Anju, struggling to stand on her wonky ankle, said.
It was a hat-trick of horrors for the Kerala jumper as she botched all her three attempts to fill her cup of woes.
In the 21-jumper Group B, Jacquelin Edwards of Bahamas too failed to record a single clean jump to finish with an NM tag.
Asked if she had ever injured the same right ankle earlier, Anju said, "No, this is the first time that I hurt it. It's not a strain or twist but I hurt the joint and just could not take off.
"The damage was done in the trials and it only aggravated when the qualifying round started. I could neither run nor take off," she said.
Anju's performance in the recent past has not been impressive enough and the bronze medallist at the 2003 World Championship in Paris has not been able to push herself beyond the 6.55m marks this year.
Though she did not contradict when told about her below-par performances of late, Anju insisted she had been lying low all along to give her best here.
"Probably it was not great but then I did not go full throttle. All I wanted to do was to peak at the right time and give my best where it matters most. Unfortunately, my ankle held me back," she said.
"This is such a huge disappointment for me. I came here in great shape and the cut mark (6.75) for the final looked well within reach. But somehow, it was not to be today," rued the long jumper who had finished sixth in the Athens Olympics with a career-best leap of 6.83m.
Asked if it was a feasible idea to make a comeback in the 2012 Olympics Games in London, Anju said, "I don't know. My mind is blind and I need time to think."