Indian sportswomen and their performance in the International arena

In a patriarchal nation as India, sportswomen are shattering glass ceilings. Sports  is an integral part of every culture and any nation building. It can be a field to promote gender equality and empower young sportswomen. Sports is one field in the world that the main competition is all about the self. If this subject is brought in the school education system India will have more medals in its tally. Sports  helps an individual to be disciplined and competitive not only in the body level but also her/his mental capacity. All sorts of  limits are tested. For instance stamina, will power, speed, how to excel better, motivation  etc.

Inspite of being the most populous country in the world, India fails badly in sports. It’s not the lack of talent but lack of opportunities and attitude at the top most level of the system that sports  is not encouraged at the grass roots level.

Much has been discussed and debated about the plight of sports in India. However with all the hurdles in place this blog is a discussion about the state of women sportsperson and their international performance.

Most of the women sportsperson is leaving a stamp in her respective arena. She is successfully fighting the age old social evils of prejudice against her. Very recently  the world of Indian sports is slowly warming up to many different international achievements. This years medal tally in the Asian games 2018 performance has been the largest collection so far.

medals by sportswomen
medal collection

Unfortunately women’s role in a patriarchal society has been justified through various institutions. Namely in the caste system, its religion, schools that were taught, families that were raised values of nurture and caring are too much ingrained in the society that people don’t look beyond such simple biological differences .The variance between the gender is far more greater than the biological differences between the male and female species.

Women have always in various histories through out the world have broken glass ceilings and proved them selves equivalent in their chosen field. after various struggles did the women get her rightful place  in the sporting field.

The level of PE physical education, and sports for females has been slowed down because of biases against them. Women’s role are too limited and narrow in our Indian society especially at the rural and hinterland areas. The imitations are endless and sportswoman in the  free independent India have always carved their names in spite of endless obstacles limitations are plenty but these women are made of rare steel spirit.Their road to fame and success is through their immense hard work and dedication to their love for the sport and nation. They have fought their battles  and are still bringing glory to the nation. So here are few of these gritty sportswomen who have held the Indian flag high at the international field

Media now focus on women problems in a hindering way as their position is detrimental for the women’s sports in India. They need to showcase their strengths and achievements rather then their issues. Example as in the case of Odisha player Dutee Chand who is an athlete who got no support from the system.

Some famous sportswomen as Karnam Malleswari, Saina Nehwal, Mary Kom, have won medals in the Olympic games in their fields.

sports training of sportswomen
female athletes

Sportswomen bringing laurels to the nation has not just been a matter of pride for Indians but also encouraged girls to break the gender stereotypes and take up sports. Here are some Indian sportswomen who are currently making India proud.

  1. Sania Mirza – Tennis

She has a long list of achievements since  2001. She has received the Arjuna Award from the Government of India in 2004. In 2006, the tennis player  was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India. It is the 4th highest civilian honour in India. In the year 2015, S. Mirza was honored with Rajiv Gandhi KhelRatna Award and a year later she was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s 3rd highest civilian honour. These Indian honors have been conferred as she has won many single as well as mixed doubles events internationally.

  1. Saina Nehwal -Badminton

In 2006, Saina won under-19 Asia Satellite Badminton tournament and became the national champion twice. She was named as the world’s no. 1 badminton player on 2 April, 2015.Her success was on wheels when she became the first Indian woman and the youngest player to win 4- star tournament i.e. Philippines Open. When she was ranked 86 in the top badminton players, she stunned everyone by defeating the world no. 4 champion Xu Huaiwen and before that Julia Wong Pei Xian of Malaysia. She has won bronze in London Olympics 2012.

  1. Mithali Raj – Cricketer

She is the first woman from India and Asia to score a double hundred in Tests. She held the record for the highest score in Women’s Tests – 214 against England, 2002 – that stood for 19 months.

4.PV.Sindhu  – Badminton shuttler

This 19 year old became the first Indian women to win a medal in world badminton championshipin 2013 PV Sindhu received Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for badminton in 2013, PV Sindhu received Arjuna Award for badminton in 2013 and then PV Sindhu received Padma Shri Award, the fourth highest civilian honor in 2016.

  1. Phogat sisters – Wrestlers

    sportswomen
    sheroes wrestling

All these Phogat sister are well rounded achievers from the field of wrestling. Geeta, babita and most recent addition is their cousin Vignesh Phogat.  Three of the Phogat sisters Geeta, Babita and Vinesh are gold medalists in different weight categories at the Commonwealth Games, while Priyanka has won a silver medal at the Asian Championships. Ritu is a National Championships gold medalist and Sangita has won medals at age-level international championships. Geeta was the first Indian sportwomen to win gold in commonwealth games . It’s a family of sportwomen and Now  their cousin Vinesh Phogat is now the proud achiever of being the only woman to bring in gold at both commonwealth and Asian games .

6.Mary Kom – Boxer

She is five time world amateur boxing champion. Mary Kom was decorated with the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour in 2010 for her contributions to sports. She was  honored with the Padma Bhushan—the third highest civilian award in India—in 2013 for her wonderful achievements in the field of sports. To her credit she has  Gold Medal in Flyweight category in 2014 Incheon Asian Games. Mary is the only female boxer to win a medal in six consecutive world championships.

7.Deepa Karmarkar- Gymnast

The country witnessed a first when this young lady took over the centre stage at 2016 Summer Olympics and showcased her beautiful Produnova vault as an artistic gymnast securing in the 4th position in the games. Here’s hoping to many such accolades and achievements in the near future by this Khel Ratna Awardee.

8. Sakshi Malik- Wrestler

The entire country rejoiced as this young freestyle wrestler won the Bronze for India in the 2016 Summer Olympics being the first female wrestler from India to achieve this feat. All the above sportswomen have brought in world fame and have held the Indian flag high in the international stage.

Medals brought in by the sportswomen in Asian games 2018 

Indian women squash team bring in the silver

The Indian women’s hockey team earned silver after losing 1-2 to Japan in the final.

Seema Punia clinched bronze in discus throw. The 35-year-old Seema  brought in  a bronze medal.

PU Chitra won a bronze in the women’s 1500m race. .

sportswomen as women racers
athletics

India’s 4x400m women’s relay team clinched its fifth consecutive gold medal in the Asian Games. The Indian women’s quartet of Hima Das, M R Poovamma, Saritaben Gayakwad and Vismaya Velluva Koroth ran 3 minute and 28.72 seconds to claim the gold.

In  table tennis as Manika Batra and Achanta Sharath Kamal settled for the bronze medal.

Saraswati Saha was the last athlete to win a medal (gold) for India in the event back in 2002. Overall, Dutee is the fifth female athlete to win a medal in the event after Mary D’Souza (bronze in 1951), Stephie D’Souza (silver in 1958) and PT Usha (silver in 1982, gold in 1986).

Swapna Barman then added the second athletics gold and fifth overall, after winning the women’s heptathlon event with a total of 6026 points. It was India’s first ever gold medal in the event at the Asian Games.

PV sindhu brought in silver at the womens single badminton final.

Saina Nehwal settes for bronze

Sudha Singh won silver in women’s 3000 metre steeplechase on Monday in Jakarta. Neena Varakil also won silver in women’s long jump with a jump of 6.51.

Hima Das clinched the silver medal in the final of the 400m race and with a time of 50.79 in the final, broke the National Record again.

Dutee Chand wins silver in womens 100 m race.

Indian women team settled for silver in Kabbadi

Heena Sidhu continued her medal-winning run at the Asian Games well as she settled for bronze in the 10m Air Pistol Women event.

Rahi Sarnobat scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman shooter to win a gold medal at the Asian Games as she prevailed in a nervy shoot-off in the 25m pistol event.

wrestler Divya Kakran, bagged bronze in women’s 68kg freestyle category.

Vinesh defeated Yuki 6-2 in the 50kg category final to take India’s tally of gold medals to two at the 18th edition of the Asian Games in Indonesia.

Apurvi chandela won bronze in the mixed rifle event.

All these sportswomen have brought in the biggest medal collection for India so far.

Inspiring stories from the grassroots level

Hima Das: Hailing from Assam she is a poor farmers daughter. But her achievements at 18 speak immense about her grit and determination. She first made the breaking news in Finland by winning gold medal in 400 m event in IAAF world U20 championship. Her achievements are definitely remarkable as she belongs to family where they could not afford much in her sports expense as she started wearing spikes only a year before.  She got trained in the muddy football fields.She has won a gold and two silver in the most recently concluded Asian games in Jakarta .

Among all the Asian politics thrived another shero from Odisha . Her name is Duttee Chand.Her life was just full of challenges especially after the gender tests. The whole world was against her but never did she think of giving up on sports. Her struggles include the world athletics body IAAF ban in the hyperandrogenism case just before the 2014 Asiad. Even SAI which is Sports authority of India denied and and gave her zero support. Inspite of all this she got 2 silvers from Jakarta Asian games.

Films based on sports women as Dangal and Mary Kom have brought the lifes of these sheroes in the public eye. Both these films are like autobiographies which are now famous and known by the Indian masses. The Phogat sisters and Mary Kom are now famous celebrities. Unfortunately it was not their glorious medals but Bollywood films which gave them the well deserved fame.

Things are very fast changing and situations are improving. A number of sportswomen has been defying the odds i.e., social and psychological hurdles related to participation of women in sports but there is still a lot to be achieved. No doubt the number of women participants in sports is having an increasing trend year by  year but it is lesser than to men.

Another case study is the Haryana state which suffers from skewed sex ratio. Which simply means it’s a state of male preference society. The female since coming into the form as a foetus is threatened by age old prejudices and crimes as foeticide, female abortion and various gender crimes. In spite of all these the state produces international players who have come on their own merit and negligible support from the state and government.

There may be number of reasons for less number of women participation in sport. In fact women will have to challenge all the social hurdles with their herculean efforts to enhance their participation in sports. The mind set of persons will have to be changed specially of parents, families, schools, colleges, teachers and administrators. Looking at the current trend in the Indian sports scenario there is quite an area of improvement but still a lot needs to be achieved.

Cheers to all the sportsperson from Asian squad 2018. Kudos to all these sportswomen.

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