From Aditi Swami To Smriti Mandhana, How Women Are Setting New Records In Indian Sports

From Aditi Swami To Smriti Mandhana, How Women Are Setting New Records In Indian Sports

As we march towards the Paris Olympics, the performance of female sportswomen has increased India’s hopes of winning more medals

Rushikesh BamneUpdated: Saturday, March 09, 2024, 06:28 PM IST
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Manika Batra |

India is a sports-loving nation. The field, which was mostly dominated by male athletes, has experienced a huge turnaround in the last few years. Not only cricket, but other sports such as badminton, table tennis, shooting, and archery too have seen female athletes shining. Their success, at times, goes unnoticed. But it does not reduce the importance of their achievements. As we march towards the Paris Olympics, the performance of female sportswomen has increased India’s hopes of winning more medals in the prestigious tournament.

Rise in archery

Our own Maharashtra’s young kids recently shone in World Youth Archery and Asian Games. Seventeen-year-old Aditi Swami from Satara clinched Gold medals in their respective category of the World Championship, whereas she won bronze in the Asian Games. Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Parneet Kaur, and Aditi also grabbed a gold medal in Asiad. In just two years, Maharashtra has produced two youth world champions. The Har Ghar Archery program launched by the Archery Association of India has played a vital role in it. Aditi was awarded the Breakthrough Archer of the Year 2023. “I saw various sports at the stadium, but archery was the one that got me hooked. I did not have any knowledge about the sport at all, but I found the equipment interesting. I grew up watching the Ramayana and Mahabharata, where I saw Ram and Arjun doing wonders with the bow and arrow,'” Aditi reveals how she took up archery.

Peak in cricket

Women’s sports have enjoyed increased visibility and popularity in recent years, thanks to the Indian cricket team. Led by Harmanpreet Kaur, the Indian women’s cricket team missed out on the T20 World Cup last year. But they went on to beat Australia and England in the test matches. Apart from Harman, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, and Shafali Verma have become the stars of women’s cricket. India’s performance against top teams in the test format forced the BCCI to conduct a Senior Red Ball Cricket tournament for women after six years between six teams. Also, the ongoing season of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) is getting wonderful feedback from the audience.

Glory in badminton

Indian team put up an impressive performance in Shah Alam, Malaysia earlier this year to win the Badminton Asian Team Championship for the first time since its inception in 2016. Barring PV Sindhu, who was returning after a four-month injury break, and Ashwini Ponnappa, the team was full of youngsters. The youngest member, Tanvi Sharma, is only 15. Despite the lack of experience, the unheralded Indians upset the top three seeds — China, Japan, and Thailand — to lift the trophy. It was commendable with 17-year-old Anmol Kharb emerging as the star performer, winning the high-pressure matches against much higher-ranked opponents to return unbeaten from Malaysia. Our women’s badminton team will now look up to performing well in the upcoming Uber Cup.

History in table tennis

Indian women’s table tennis team scripted history by booking their ticket to this year’s Paris Olympics. It will be the first time India will compete in the table tennis team events at the Olympics. Earlier, they had failed to secure direct qualifications to the Paris Games, after losing their pre-quarterfinals matches at the World Table Tennis Championships in Busan, South Korea. The prestigious tournament offered Olympic quotas to the quarter-finalists. The Indian women’s team, which is currently in 13th rank, will now aim for glory at the Olympics. Experienced paddlers Manika Batra, and Mumbaikar Diya Chitale are part of the women’s team and the country has high expectations from them.

Kabaddi mai bhi panga

Pro Kabaddi, which recently concluded the 10th season of men’s teams, saw the first-ever Women’s Kabaddi League (WKL) happening last year. The tournament was played in Dubai last year. This historic event was the first time women kabaddi players from across India were given the opportunity to exhibit their skills on a global stage. The league featured 96 players, each representing Indian states.

Also, Indian teams were announced joint winners of the SAFF Women’s Under-19 Football Championship alongside the host Bangladesh. It has helped youngsters to take up football. The Indian basketball association has also planned to organise a league for women in future. It only indicates women are all set to fly in every aspect of sports.

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