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It is barely 2 weeks to go for the big event, so here is a roundup of Indian women athletes at the Rio Olympics starting on 5th August 2016.
It is a proud moment for the country to watch these Indian women athletes – who shine despite the discrimination they suffer as against male athletes.
Karnam Malleswari brought home the first Olympic medal for a woman from India, winning the bronze in weightlifting in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Mary Kom, the first Indian woman to qualify in boxing for the Olympics made her mark by bringing back a bronze in 2012 London Olympics.
Seeing the five rings flag – the five rings represent the five continents brought together in the name of sports. ‘Fight’ and ‘Win’, from the theme song of Rio Olympics 2016 blends well with the women from India there. Making their presence felt first on the Olympic roster in 1924, though women were first allowed to compete in 1900 in Paris, this year 54 women are in the limelight representing India out of the total 121 from India.
12 sports including our national game hockey is what the women from India are going to aim their mind, body and soul on from Aug 5 till the 25th. Their journey has already started with pre-qualifiers starting in the third week of July.
The Indian women’s hockey team gained this nickname after winning some consecutive Golds in the international arena. This year the team gained its rightful position by qualifying for Olympics 2016 which is the first time since 1980. It’s a proud moment for the team and for us. After the controversial oust of their ‘halfback’ Ritu Rani now they will be led by their goalie Sushila Chanu. Apart from Sushila and vice-captain Deepika Thakur, the squad includes a host of experienced players like Navjot Kaur, Deep Grace Ekka, Monika, Nikki Pradhan, and Vandana Katariya.
Sania Mirza can be clearly called the person who brought India’s notice to the sport for women. She holds the No 1 ranking in women’s doubles for tennis, and what an achievement that is. For a career that is shrouded with controversies she delivers her ‘ace against odds’ each time making her undoubtedly the champion.
Her partner and co-player from some time now is Prarthana Thambare. They have won the Asian Games doubles which made them an indisputable duo. “I feel that mixed doubles is where our hopes truly lie in,” says Sania where she is teaming with Rohan Bopanna. These ace players are definitely shouldering hopes of the nation being best in their game.
Saina Nehwal had broken the lull for women in Olympics by winning a bronze in 2012. She has been winning many championships and had been World no 1 for a long time. However she is now in No 5 position and raring to go during these Olympics.
Pusarla Sindhu who is the other player playing singles is a young girl who is noticed for getting into the world charts since 2012.
Jwala Gutta is the best doubles specialist from the country representing this sport since 15 years. She is aggressive in her game and with immense control on her skills. Now her partnership with Ashwini Ponnappa is considered the mature duo. Their last performances had a lot lacking but there is no doubt in their potential which has been proven multiple times before.
With her best 192 kg lift being her best Saikhom Mirabai Chanu crept up qualifying for Rio. However she goes into a game which faces stiff competition from other countries. Cheering her young skills is the entire nation.
Deepika Kumari, Bombayla Devi and Laxmirani Majhi are the trio coming together for the team event and displaying their skills at individual levels too. Olympic Gold Quest a non-profit organization is responsible for nurturing the skills of all 3 of them. Deepika also had the good fortune of being trained by her cousin Vidya Kumari, an archer. We are all waiting to take a bow for these ladies with an aim for the skies.
P.T Usha, the person Indians can easily associate with for bringing forth the sport to everyone’s notice was also responsible for bringing India into international notice. For me too, my early association with Olympics was definitely her. Track events are the ones that can keep you glued. It’s an exhilarating experience watching them.
Dutee Chand the fighter is back and how. From being banned it’s a great amount of hard work and willpower that has got her back into the Olympic circuit. Srabani Nanda, Tintu Luka, Lalita Babar, Sudha Singh, Jisna Mathews, M. R. Poovamma, Anilda Thomas, Debashree Majumdar, Ashwini Akkunji, Nirmala Sheoran, O. P. Jaisha, Kavita Raut, Sudha Singh, Khushbir Kaur and Sapna Punia are the others in the entire team who would be representing the various running, relay, marathon and walk events.
Manpreet Kaur and Seema Antil would be the shotput and discus throw specialists from India.
Aditi Ashok, the three time national junior champion and 2 time national amateur champion is our hope for the Golf league in Olympics.
This is a sport that’s watched with awe and has been inspiring young kids and parents from its introduction in international sports. It’s a pleasurable sight to watch the great concentration and precision of the players for sure.
Dipa Karmakar, the first Indian Gymnast who has gained her berth to Olympics now would showcase her skills. She is the third woman in the world who has landed by doing a ‘Produnova’ and sets her a class apart because of that. ‘Go Girl Go!!! We are proud and waiting to watch you at Rio.
Heena Sidhu distinguishably the first Indian pistol shooter to be Ranked World No.1 for this sport. She has many accolades to her credit at national level and is all set her records higher at Olympics. Apurvi Chandela and Ayonika Paul are going with her with similar dreams and their gold and silver medals from Commonwealth games fresh in their mind. They are striding forward with confidence and making us look out for them.
“It means a lot…honestly…” Shivani Kataria’s statement says it all. She is the only woman who has qualified for swimming for the Olympics this year. Shivani is participating in the 200 m freestyle and knowing that she is first one to qualify for swimming after 2004 is a huge responsibility on her shoulders.
Mouma Das who is the senior at the sport also holds the distinction of representing the country internationally maximum times. She along with the young Manika Batra who also looks up to Mouma are India’s bet at Table Tennis this Olympics. Manika though young is already making her mark in the international circuit and her main goal is to reach the top 50 ranking.
Vinesh Phogat is joining her cousin Babita Kumari and also joining the league of another Geeta Bhagat Vinesh and Babita have the support of their families and have been in the winning international breed and now raring to move forward this Rio. All three have made a difference for the sport in the country and Vinesh and Babita are the ones along with Sakshi Malik who is all set for Olympics now.
These 54 women representing Olympics are who all will watch from August 5th. Though only few of these sports get the financial backing that’s required, it’s their determination and hard work from their coaches and individuals which have landed them here.
Cheers to all of them and waiting to get glued to Rio Olympics 2016.
Image source: youtube