Karnam Malleswari has been the National Champion for nine years (twice in the 52 kg category and seven times in the 54 kg category).
She won a bronze medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics at Sydney for lifting of 240 kg, which made her the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal. She is a recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India’s highest sporting honour for the year 1995-1996. She is also a recipient of the civilian honour Padma Shri in 1999. Malleswari is awarded the Arjuna Award in 1994, India’s second highest award in sports.