In the midst of cheers and applause for sportsmen, our sportswomen are silently packing a punch against all odds. Sneha Singh unfolds the often-neglected journey of these ladies who are making a difference in sports spectrum
Move over Dhoni, Kohli and Yuvraj! Now we have Mithali , Jhulan and Harmanpreet who are winning Indian hearts for all the right reasons. During World Cup Mitali & Co turned the scenario of Women’s Cricket upside down, they left no stone unturned and they proved that they are no less than Men In Blue. The whole tournament came out as the revolution for women’s cricket which instigated Indians to watch them playing live. From cricket to boxing, from hockey to gymnastics we can see her endeavour in making India proud. Who are those desi sports starlets who are winning million hearts with their Sportswomanship, let’s delve down to find out!
Known for her intelligence and killer game tactics, Captain of Indian Women Cricket team Mitali Dorai Raj isthe run machine of women’s team. A Tamilian from Jodhpur, Raj started playing cricket at the tender age of ten. At 17, she was selected for national team. She is Captain Cool, an all-rounder and above all she is the only women cricketer to score tremendous 6,000 runs in World Cup ODIs. Mitali has also scored seven 50’s back to back. Raj was honoured with Arjuna Award in 2003 and Padma Shri in 2015 for her contribution in Women’s Cricket. Recently our Captain cool lost her cool when a reporter asked her who is her favourite male cricketer, miffed by such sexist question Raj counter questioned by asking “Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer?”. Well said Mitali, more power to you!
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu won accolades for bagging a Silver medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016; Sindhu is one of the celebrated badminton players to win an Olympic medal after Saina Nehwal. The 22-year-oldshuttler currently ranks 5th in Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings. Sindhu caught the international attention when she made it to the top 20 BWF rankings at the age of 17. Sindhu is also the youngest player to reach Olympics final and to make a podium finish in an individual event in Olympics. In 2013, Sindhu became first ever Badminton player to win a medal at Badminton World Championships. The ace shuttler was honoured with Padma shri in March 2015, Sindhu will always be remembered as the first young Indian player to win a silver Olympic medal in the history of Indian Badminton.
Chungneijang Mery Kom Hmangte renowned as Mary Kom is the Olympic Indian boxer who hails from Manipur. Mary Kom is the five-time World Amateur Boxing Champion and also the only female boxer to win six world championships. “Magnificent Mary” had made India proud with her boxing manoeuvres when she won a gold medal in the Asian Games in 2014 in Incheon, South Korea.Her journey to boxing began when she met Dingko Singh a Manipuri boxer who won gold medal in Bangkok Asian Game, in 1998. Mary got so inspired with Dingko that she decided to switch to athletics to boxing. After becoming a mother of two Mary returned to boxing and won a silver medal in 2008, in Asian Women Boxing Championship, India. Mary bagged a gold medal in Kazakhstan and also at Barbados which was her 5th consecutive gold wins.
Dipa is the only female gymnast who represented India in the Rio Olympics, 2016. And also, she is the first gymnast to compete in Olympics after 52 years. The 23-year-old female gymnast is one of the five gymnasts to successfully attempt Produnova, the toughest vault regarded in gymnastics. Karmakar is from Agartala, Tripura where she started her gymnast practice at the age of six. Karmakar had flat feet, which is termed as a bad trait for a gymnast. But with her sheer practice and dedication she developed an arch in her foot and now she can hold herself in great posture. Dipa has won 77 medals which includes 67 gold in state and national championships. Dipa is the first female gymnast to qualify and represent India in Olympics; she lost the game but she indeed won million hearts.
Everybody knows the journey and achievements of Phogat sisters, thanks to the makers of Dangal who made such enchanting movie about the life of Haryanvi wrestlers. But very few of us know about Sakshi Malik, another Haryanvi women freestyle wrestler who made India proud with her bolstering bouts. Malik is the only female wrestler to grab a bronze medal in 2016, Rio Olympics. Malik had won silver medal in 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and a bronze medal in 2015 Asian Wrestling Championship in Doha. Malik got her motivation for boxing from her grandfather Badlu Ram, who was also a wrestler. She started her training at akharas at the age of 12.
This ace woman archer from Ranchi, Jharkhand has propelled all her arrows in right way. Former No.1-woman archer is currently on no.5 according to world archery rankings. In 2010, Deepika bagged two gold medals in Commonwealth Games. Deepika was honoured with Arjuna Award in 2012, by then President Pranab Mukherjee. Deepika was honoured with Padmashri in 2016 for her arduous contribution in the field of Archery. As a child Deepika used to practice as aiming for mangoes with stones and also with bows and arrows made of bamboo. Deepika became the second Indian archer to win the junior compound competition at Archery World Cup, 2006 in Merida, Mexico. At the age of 15, she won the Youth World Archery Championship in Ogden, US in 2009. Deepika was one of the archer to qualify for the Rio Olympics besides Bombayla Devi and Laxmirani Majhi.
This real life Chak De girl is actually a Rani on field. Ritu Rani, a former Indian captain of women’s national hockey team who hails from Haryana, took hockey stick in her hands at the age of 9. Ritu made her debut in senior hockey national team in 2006, at Asian Games in Doha. Ritu was the youngest Indian player to perform in World Cup in Madrid, 2006. In 2009, India won the Champions Challenge II in Russia, and won the tournament all thanks to Rani because she was the top scorer with eight goals to her name. Rani was appointed as Captain in 2011, under her captaincy the team finished the game at 3 rd position in Asian Games, 2014.