“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will”.- Charlotte Bronte
A woman is a source of inspiration in many ways. Apart from being the reason for our existence, a woman symbolizes strength, courage and will-power. Women have surpassed men in many fields. Be it academics or sports or any other activities, they have always been on top. Today, we at Sports Rediscovered take the opportunity to salute the spirit of Indian sportswomen on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
Here are some Indian sportswomen who have been at the top of their game throughout their career and have made India proud at the world stage. After facing several obstacles and hardships, they have emerged victorious.
#1. The Phogat sisters (wrestling):
Haryana, which has the lowest sex ratio among states, has managed to produce world-class sportspersons time and again. A bulk of Indian wrestlers and boxers hail from this state. The Phogat sisters – Geeta Phogat, Babita Kumari and Vinesh Phogat are professional wrestlers and have made the nation proud with their recent performances.
Geeta Phogat is the first Indian woman wrestler to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and qualify for the Olympics. Her sisters, Vinesh and Babita also won gold medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Their achievements make them some of the finest Indian sportswomen.
#2. Mary Kom (boxing):
She is one of the most admired Indian sportswomen of all times. Five-time world champion and the best at what she does, Mary Kom is one of the brightest spots of Indian boxing. The 32-year-old won the gold medal at the Asian Games in Incheon last year in the flyweight category. Mary is an inspiration to many young athletes and her achievements have also been narrated through a Bollywood movie in 2014.
#3. Mithali Raj (cricket):
Since the introduction of cricket in India, we have only appreciated and worshipped the male cricketers. Hence, one is completely unaware of women’s cricket in India and its players.
Mithali Raj, the captain of the Indian women’s team, is one of the best batters of the world. With close to 5000 runs in ODI cricket, she led India to the World Cup final in 2005. It is sad that women’s cricket isn’t a much recognized sport but one should not overlook the achievements of Indian women in this sport.
#4. Saina Nehwal (badminton):
Saina Nehwal is the highest ranked Indian in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings. Currently world no. 3, Saina is currently on a dream run as she became the first Indian woman to reach the finals of the prestigious All England Open.
The Indian shuttler won her first title at the age of 14. Since then she has come a long way as she won numerous medals at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the Asian Championships. She also won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Apart from this, she has also won 8 BWF Superseries titles.
#5. Dutee Chand (athletics):
Indian sprinter Dutee Chand is a national 100 metres champion in the under-18 category. Yet she was denied entry into the 2014 Commonwealth and Asian Games due to a condition known as “hyperandrogenism” (excess of androgens, which in her case meant excess of testosterone). Dutee failed to clear the gender test and was asked to take hormone suppressing drugs or undergo a surgery to limit testosterone production. She turned down the offer.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) finally came to her aid and Jiji Thompson, its director, helped Dutee Chand plead her case at the Court of Arbitration for Sports. She went on to participate in the 2015 National Games in Kerala. Read full story here.
Indian sportswomen: overcoming challenges
Indian sportswomen have been victims of male dominance for a long time now. The age-old customs and traditions which restrict women from stepping out of the house no longer bother these mighty-spirited women. Many families now have a broader approach and are supporting their daughters to choose their own path and we hope to see many world-leaders in the near future.