It was a time when Indian women did not have much presence on the national platform. But now, the time has changed and so, is the awareness and opportunity for the women folk in the country.
From PT Usha to Sania Mirza, India has traveled a long destination towards the achievements of our womenfolk in the sports world. Indian women are making news in areas of sports like boxing, wrestling, cricket, shooting once dominated by men.
Sania Mirza – Tennis
She is probably the most well-known female Indian sportsperson internationally. She was the first woman who could make it to the fourth round of Grand Slam Tournament in US Open in 2005.
Having been honored with the Arjuna Award in 2004 and Padam Shri award in 2006, she has also won the doubles with Mahesh Bhupathi in Australian Open in 2009.
In Doha Asian games in 2006, Sania won a silver medal for singles and gold in doubles with Leander Paes.
Saina Nehwal – Badminton
Making big news through her hard work, dedication, and talent, Saina has been ranked number 3 in the world by Badminton World Federation.
She is the first woman who had made it to the singles quarterfinals in Olympic games and the first Indian to win Super Series Tournament in 2009.
She also won a gold medal in Women’s Single Shuttle Badminton in Common Wealth Games, 2010.
Anjum Chopra- Cricket
A player in the Indian Women’s Cricket team, Anjum was the first ever female Indian player to score a century in One Day International match.
She is a left-handed batsman and an opener in cricket matches. Having played 12 test matches and 116 One Day Internationals, she is a right-arm medium-fast bowler.
She has been awarded the Arjuna Award in 2007 for her valuable contribution to Indian Women’s Cricket.
Sonika Kaliraman- Wrestling
Sonika is the only Indian woman wrestler having made it to the Asian Games. Her father Master Chandgi Ram and brother Jagdish are very well known names in the field of wrestling in India.
Sonika, hence, carries forward her family in the sport. Married to an NRI, Siddharth Malik, she is now settled in California, USA, originally hailing from Haryana.
Tejaswini Sawant- Shooting
Daughter of an Indian Navy Officer, Ravindra Sawant, Tejaswini represented India in 2004 at the 9th South Asian Sports Federation Games. She has been supported currently by Olympic Gold Quest.
She was 2006 Common Wealth Games winner of gold medal in Women’s 10m Air Rifle Singles and Women’s 10m Air Rifle pairs.
In 2009 in 50m Rifle three positions she won a bronze and in 2010 she became a world champion in 50m Rifle Prone game held in Germany.
In 2010 Common Wealth Games she won two silver and one bronze medals in Women’s 50m Rifle Prone Singles, Women’s 50m Rifle 3 positions, and Women’s 50m Rifle Prone Pairs respectively.
Tejaswini was the first Indian woman shooter to win a Gold medal at the World Championships in 50 m Rifle Prone game.
Geeta Phogat is the first Indian woman wrestler to win a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games. She did this feat in the freestyle category of the Commonwealth Games of Delhi 2010. She had also won a gold medal at the 2009 Commonwealth Wrestling Championships.
Geeta is also the first Indian woman wrestler to qualify for the Olympics. Geeta won consecutive medals in the Asian Cadet Championship 2003,04,05.
Deepika Pallikal is the first Indian female squash player to reach the top ten of the world rankings. Having won many tournaments in her career, Deepika has awarded the Padma Shri and the Arjuna Award.
Deepika has won the titles of German Open, Dutch Open, French Open, Australian Open, Scottish Open in the European Junior Squash Circuit.
Anju Bobby George
Anju Bobby George, who became the first Indian athlete to do so by winning a bronze at the 2003 World Athletic Championships, is one of the most famous faces in Indian athletics. She had also won a gold medal in the IAAF World Athletics Finals. Anju has honoured with Padma Shri, Arjuna Award and Khel Ratna.
Deepika Kumari is an Indian archer who is currently at number five in the world rankings. Deepika won the gold medal at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games. Deepika also won the World Cup in the individual recurve category in 2012. Gold medalist Deepika has been awarded the Arjuna Award at the 2013 Archery World Cup Stage Three.
Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awardee Anjali Bhagwat was world number one in the ten-meter air rifle. She won the World Cup in 2003 with a score of 399/400. Bhagwat won the ISSF Champion of Champions Award, and she is the only Indian to win the ISSF Women’s Men’s Mixed Air Rifle Event Champions Trophy. Anjali is the first Indian woman shooter to reach the Olympic finals.
Emerging as the new sensation of Indian badminton, Sindhu is the first Indian female badminton player to win a medal in singles matches of the World Championship.
Before this, India had won only one medal in this competition, which was won by Prakash Padukone in 1983. Sindhu has also honoured with Padma Shri.
Another famous Indian sports woman is Krishna Poonia.
She is the first Indian female athlete to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games 2010 and the first athlete after Milkha Singh to win gold in such a competition. Sixth Bharti reaching the final round of Poonia Olympic Track and Field
Shiney Wilson – Athlete
Shiney Wilson is a former Indian athlete. The amazing woman athlete seldom failed to set the track ablaze. She has been a national champion in the 800-meter race for fourteen years.
Besides representing India in more than 75 international competitions, Shiney Wilson is the only athlete to participate in the Asian track and field for six consecutive times.