Blast from the Past- 20th Century Indian Sportswomen

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Education, Entertainment, Business- whatever be the field women are breaking barriers and scaling new heights. Today on Women’s Day, Sports Rediscovered brings to you a list of five women from the last century who have broken the glass ceiling and made a mark for themselves in their respective sports.

5. Nirupama Vaidyanathan (Tennis)

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Nirupama Vaidyanathan
(Image Credits: The Hindu)

Born in Coimbatore, this 38 year old created history as the Indian woman to feature in and win a round in the main draw of a  Grand slam event. Nirupama reigned over women’s tennis from 1992-98, and teaming up with Mahesh Bhupati, even bagged a bronze medal in the Bangkok Asian games mixed doubles. She made women’s tennis popular in India, and paved way for youngsters like Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina.

4. Anjali Bhagwat (Shooting)

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Anjali Bhagwat

Here is the female counterpart of Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. The only Indian to win an ISSF Champion’s trophy, Bhagwat, in a career spanning almost three decades, has taken it all- 13 golds in the Commonwealth Games, medals in the Afro-Asian games, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the Arjuna Award and even a silver in the Munich 2002 World Cup Finals. She made a remarkable comeback in the ISSF Championships in Granada last year.

3. Aparna Popat (Badminton)

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Aparna Popat

A former Indian badminton player, Aparna Popat clinched the National Badminton Championships title nine times (from 1997-2006). During the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games, Aparna made it to the finals of the women’s singles event, but went down fighting to Welsh champion Kelly Morgan. This was followed by a bronze-winning performance during the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and another one four years later in the women’s team event of the 2006 Melbourne Games.

2.Diana Eduljee (Cricket)

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Diana Eduljee

A name not known to many, Diana Eduljee is a former cricket player who captained the National side in 1978. The first Indian woman to be awarded a benefit match, and was also the first woman to be inducted into the BCCI. India’s highest wicket taker in Test history (61),this slow left arm orthodox bowler put up a 6 wicket haul against Australia at Mumbai (6-64, 1983-84). In ODI, her best figures are 4-12 against England in the 1993 World Cup.

1. Karnam Malleswari (Weightlifting)

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Karnam Malleswari

The first Indian woman to bag an Olympic medal, Karnam Malleswari has been a trailblazer in the weightlifting arena. Her mercurial rise to fame came after her stint in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, where she won the bronze medal in the women’s 65 kilograms department. The world champion in 1993 and 1994, Malleswari showed at the tender age of 25 that with perseverance and determination, respect can be earned for India on the sports field by ensuring our only medal in the 2000 Olympic games.




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