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For an Indian woman, a career in sports is highly unlikely. While, it is not often encouraged by Indian families, some women are not able to get the right assistance and opportunity to prove their talents. But there are always those who refuse to conform to the society’s norms and go ahead to chase their dreams without worrying about any societal judgements or biases.
Our eyes get filled with pride when Kohli scores us a win. But how often do we see someone’s mother, daughter or sister make us proud? There are many of them but sadly very few that we know of. Feministaa brings to you names of some of the very talented Indian women athletes whom you should be proud of:
Today, Deepika Kumari is counted amongst India’s best archers. Her father was an auto rickshaw driver with a minimal income. Hence, he could never give wings to his daughter’s dream of becoming an archer. But the lack of finances did not deter Kumari from achieving what she was born to achieve. Instead she practised archery using homemade bamboo bows and arrows.
Over the years, Kumari has won many accolades for our country, including gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, 2010. She has also won medals at various Archery World Cups over the years.
Krishna Poonia is a renowned discus thrower from the state of Haryana. While there are many instances concerning women’s subjugation in the state, Poonia is one of the few who did not fall prey to it. Discus throwing as a sport, is often conceived as something that men are best suited for. But Poonia, certainly proved it wrong.
Having won medals at Asian Games and gold at CWG, she has shown that there is absolutely nothing that is entirely ‘masculine’ and she continues to inspire women to chase their dreams.
Squash as a sport is not as popular as Cricket in our country. Also, the chances of achieving something substantial in this field are mild unless the player is super talented and determined. But, Pallikal has managed to make a substantial mark in this field.
She has achieved a lot of ‘firsts’!
She has won many tournaments around the world. She was the first Indian ever to reach the summit clash of a Silver event by clearing the final round of the Tournament of Champions in 2012, New York. She also reached the semi-finals of a gold event, the 2012 Australian Open. This was also the first for any Indian.
Thanks to her and her partner at CWG 2010, India won the first ever CWG medal in squash and that too a gold!!
She also became the first female squash payer to be conferred with the prestigious Arjuna Award.
Breaking into the top 10 of WSA rankings, Pallikal has achieved a lot for India in the field of squash where our country does not have many achievements to boast about.
Geeta Phogat is an Indian wrestler. She is India’s first woman wrestler to qualify for the London Olympics held in 2012. Geeta chronicles that choosing wrestling as her career did not go well with her family as they felt ashamed in front of the society. She was told that wrestling is a man’s sport but she proved her worth by winning a gold at the CWG, Delhi.
Today, not just the society but the entire nation is proud of her.
Heena Sidhu is an ace Indian shooter.
Although she made her foray into the sport much later as compared to others but that did not deter her from being the best . An interesting fact about her life is that she also has a degree in BDS. The highest point of her career was in 2013 when she won the gold medal in the ISSF World Cup Finals.
Sidhu has been quoted saying Indian society still has traditional expectations of being a woman and hat she hopes more and more women could overcome this.
Having won medals at possibly all major shooting events, Sidhu is quite a ‘shooting star’!!
These women have not only challenged the societal conventions but also have carved a niche for themselves and have proved that there is no gender discrimination in sports. These exemplary women have very well proved that holding a racquet or a pistol or a cricket bat is not just confined to the men in our society.