All you need advice and stories for your sport, delivered straight to your inbox (every month).Nothing more.Nothing less.
P.S: You will enjoy this.
#GirlPower: From Sania Mirza to PT Usha, here is a list of sportswomen that made India proud. Celebrate Women’s Day 2022 by reminiscing the wins of Indian sports women.READ MORE
In India's rich history and legacy, there are some feminist female personalities. Women have contributed to India's development, from deities to activists, academics, and independence warriors. While patriarchal history would suppress these names, Indian female athletes have contributed to the sports business, which is also commonly connected with male sports legends. As a result, the astonishing assortment of Indian sports women has motivated many individuals, particularly women, to take sports more seriously while also sparking debate regarding sports women. Here are some of the top sportswomen of India who have served as role models for many aspiring athletes. Take a look at the names on this list to know more about the famous Indian sportswomen!
Indian athletes have raised the country's flag to new heights. They have persevered in the face of adversity and have made the country proud. Whether in academia, politics, science and technology, or sports, they earned their reputation via their abilities and skills. They demonstrate that "women empowerment" is defined by their tenacity and hard work.
We see success and happiness. We don't see, though, that the majority of them have battled their way to where they are now. To be daring and forge their path, defying society's stereotypes and narrow-mindedness. They've shattered the chains and are now on a mission to empower millions of women. Indian sports women have carved a remarkable road to distinction and success. Suheil Tandon, the founder of Pro Sports Development, said, "Sport is the most effective weapon of empowerment" (PSD). In the sports sector, female representation is a method to break down preconceptions and give women the voice they deserve.
Indian sports women have ascended the success ladders and are placing India on the map. India received its first Olympic medal in the year 1900. Norman Pritchard, a male athlete from England, competed in the men's 200m hurdles at the 1900 Paris Summer Games. Ironically, an Indian woman athlete eventually won an Olympic medal a century later, during the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
In India, things aren't simple for female athletes. Every day, they watch how men who perform the same things are praised and paid more. People interrogate males about their prospects in the sport and, more importantly, how individuals are still more concerned with their appearance than their sports prowess. It hasn't broken their spirit, and they deserve a lot of respect for that. Here are our picks for the top 15 Indian sports women who have excelled at every level.
The Phogat sisters and family are India's most famous sports women in India. The six sisters from Balali, Haryana, are known wrestlers on an international level. According to their birthdates, Geeta, Babita, Priyanka, Ritu, Vinesh, and Sangita are their names.
While Geeta, Babita, Ritu, and Sangita are the children of former wrestler and coach Mahavir Singh Phogat, Priyanka and Vinesh are first cousins whom Mahavir raised after their father (who is Mahavir's brother) was slain in a property dispute. In their hometown of Balali in the Bhiwani district, Mahavir Phogat taught all six of them to wrestle.
At the Commonwealth Games, three Phogat sisters, Geeta, Babita, and Vinesh, won gold medals in separate weight categories. Priyanka got a silver medal in the Asian Wrestling Championships, while Ritu won a gold medal at the National Championships, and Sangita has won several age-level international championships.
Due to the pervasive societal difficulties in Haryana, such as gender inequity, female feticides, and child marriage, the Phogat family sisters' accomplishment has gotten a lot of media attention. Dangal, a Bollywood film based on the life of the Phogat sisters and starring Mahavir, Geeta, and Babita, was released in India in December 2016. It is the highest-grossing Bollywood film ever.
She epitomises the phrase "ultimate underdog storey." Deepika Kumari, the daughter of a rickshaw driver/puller, is the first Indian archer (male and female) ever to be named number one in the world. Her first significant achievement came in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, where she earned two gold medals and two silver medals (Women's team) in the World Championships in 2011 and 2015. However, like the Phogat sisters, she failed at the Olympics, but she is just 25 years old and has a bright future ahead of her.
Deepika Kumari, who finished eighth in the team event at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was undoubtedly one of the biggest disappointments. However, many sports analysts feel she is a unique and genuine candidate to become just the second individual Olympic gold medalist, following Abhinav Bindra. A film on this remarkable Ranchi child is in the works. The Government of India has also given her the Arjuna and Padma Shri awards.
She is undoubtedly the most successful Indian female tennis player of all time. Sania Mirza was India's finest tennis player (male and female combined) a decade ago, and she was rated in the top 30 in Women's Singles. Sania defeated top-10 women, including Svetlana Kuznetsova, Nadia Petrova, and Martina Hingis, in singles tennis during her heyday in 2007.
The 2005 WTA Newcomer of the Year advanced to the fourth round of the US Open and the third round of the Australian Open after winning the WTA Newcomer of the Year title. Between 2007 and 2009, Mirza's forehand was one of the most powerful in women's tennis. Sania has received the Arjuna, Padma Shri, Khel Ratna, and Padma Bhushan honours for her outstanding contribution to Indian sports.
Her solo career ended in 2013 because of ongoing injury issues. On the other hand, her doubles career brought her back to the top of the global rankings. Her combination with Martina Hingis was flawless, as the two won the 2015 Wimbledon and US Open and the 2016 Australian Open, with the Swiss tennis star climbing to the top of the world rankings and establishing one of the best women's doubles teams in history. Sania Mirza has won six Grand Slams, including three in Mixed Doubles, two of which she shared with Mahesh Bhupathi. Sania was one of the first female athletes in India to create trends and become "sports stars."
Saina Nehwal is recognised as the Indian badminton's golden girl. She has achieved the pinnacle of the sport by becoming one of the world's top three badminton players. Her career began in 2012 when she rose to fifth place in the world rankings for badminton players. She holds gold medals in the Swiss Open Grand Prix, Thai Open Grand Prix, and Indonesian Open Super Series. Her claim to fame is that she won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games!
Saina Nehwal has won over 20 international and Super Series titles to date, and she has been in the top 20 rankings for over a decade. She was ranked number two in 2009 but rose to number one six years later. She won gold at the Commonwealth Games, silver and bronze medals at the World Badminton Championships, and an Olympic medal. 2017 shows that her career is far from ended, and she has a number of significant global events in 2018, when she may compete for medals once again.
PV Sindhu was born in Hyderabad to both national volleyball players. After finishing her undergraduate education, Sindhu competed in and won various badminton competitions, including the Asian championship, World championship, All England Open, India Open Grand Prix Gold, and Commonwealth games, to mention a few. At the 2016 Olympic Games, she achieved the height of her career by winning a silver medal for her nation. She was named deputy collector for the Krishna district in the Andhra Pradesh government's land revenue department. She was selected BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year in March 2020, and she was designated ambassador of the BWF committee's 'I Am Badminton' programme, which promotes clean and fair play in sports. This sporting star has received the Arjuna Award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Padma Shri, and Padma Bhusan honours, making her one of India's most coveted female athletes.
Nobody in Indian sports history has perhaps altered attitudes and risen from obscurity to become the most renowned face of a country obsessed with cricket. Mary Kom, a Manipuri icon, has already had a film about her life. The Olympic bronze medalist, however, is much more than a film.
The flyweight fighter has a long list of accomplishments. She has won the Amateur World Boxing Championship five times, two of them after becoming a mother during a break from the sport. Mary is also a member of the Rajya Sabha and a gold medallist in the Asian Games. She never became professional and was the first amateur boxer to get the Padma Bhushan award. She has been named to the Indian contingent for the forthcoming XXI Commonwealth Games, and she is working hard to win more medals for her country.
Jhulan Goswami would have easily won all of the nominations and awards if there had been Oscars for women cricketers in India. It's been nearly 15 years since she made her debut for India. Jhulan has gained dividends for her control and minute deviations off the field as one of the quickest bowlers in women's cricket.
When Jhulan Goswami was chosen vice-captain of the national team before the 2006 tour of England, she was designated for a leadership position. She also won the ICC Women's Player of the Year title in 2007, a year in which no Indian male player received an individual honour. She was quickly promoted to captain of the national squad. She was then awarded the coveted Arjuna Award in 2010. Two years later, he was awarded the Padma Shri. In 2015, she was one of four senior players to be awarded the highest grade of central contracts by BCCI. She is, without a doubt, one of India's top female athletes.
Dipa Karmakar is another outstanding female athlete from India. Dipa Karmakar, a well-known Indian gymnast from Agartala, has reached the zenith of her career by representing India at the international level. She is one of only five renowned female gymnasts who have attempted Produnova, one of the most difficult vaults in gymnastics. She represented her nation in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 2015 Asian Gymnastics Championships, the 2016 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, and the 2016 Olympics. She is India's most promising gymnast to date, excelling in the vault, pole vault, balancing beams, and uneven bars. Padma Shri and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna have been bestowed on her. Her coach is Bireshwar Nandi.
Mithali Raj is another sports woman in India who is widely considered India's all-time favourite female cricketer due to her fantastic batting prowess on the cricket field. Mithali, who grew up in a Tamilian household in Jodhpur, began playing the game when she was ten years old. Mithali was tutored and picked for women's one-day international matches and the Women's Twenty20 Asia Cup, where she left an indelible impact with incredible talents that will go down in cricket history. Mithali became the first Indian woman to bat as a right-handed batswoman for 20 years in international cricket. Mithali will go down in history as one of India's greatest female athletes and sports idols, having won countless honours and set numerous records along the way.
Anju Bobby George, a promising athlete born in 1977 in Kerala to a Syrian Orthodox family, has won events such as the long jump and high jump events since her school days. Anju won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in 2002, the Asian Games in 2002 and 2006, the Asian Championships in 2005, and the South Asian Games in 2006. In 2002-2003, she got the Arjuna Honor, in 2003-2004, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, and in 2004, the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian award. From 6th to 61st place in the global athlete championship, this sports women's journey was the product of unwavering devotion and determination.
Sakshi Malik is an Indian freestyle wrestler who won bronze in the 58 kgs wrestling event at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She was born in the state of Haryana in the year 1992. She won the Common Wealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and the Asian Wrestling Championship in Doha in 2015. Saakshi was encouraged to wrestle by her grandfather, and as a consequence, she was instructed by Ishwar Dahiya. In 2010, this sports icon competed in the Junior World Championships, winning bronze in the 58 kg weight class. Sakshi is a #EveryWomanStrong advocate and a member of the 'Colors Delhi Sultans.'
At the 2018 Asian Games, Hima Das, an Assamese sprinter, established the national record for 400 metres in 50.7 seconds. She is the first Indian female athlete to win a gold medal at the IAAF World U20 Championships in a track event. Hima Das, her farmer father's youngest daughter, demonstrated that she was a natural runner early on. Her local guys used to play football with her, but she soon moved to run. Her high school instructor recommended she focus on sprinting instead. This sports women received the Arjuna Award from India's President in 2018. Despite her lowly beginnings and overall lack of opportunity, Hima Das bucked the odds by making India proud.
Dutee Chand, a sprinter, was born in 1996 and, like her sister Saraswati Chand, desired to be a national athlete. She took part in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. She ran the 100 metres in 11.32 seconds to become the first Indian sprinter to win gold at the World Universiade in 2019. In 2019, she freely disclosed her sexuality as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. She was surrounded by controversy after it was determined that her testosterone levels were greater than a typical female's owing to a clinical ailment known as hyperandrogenism, and she was pulled from the 2014 Olympic Games. Female athletes from India rallied around this sporting hero, competing in the 2017 Asian Championship.
Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She won the World Championships, Asian Weightlifting Championships, and 29 international medals in 1994, including 11 gold. Karnam comes from a traditional home where weightlifting was never promoted for girls. In an interview, this seasoned athlete recalls how everyone was taken aback when Indian female competitors won Olympic gold.
Bula Chowdhury, a West Bengal native-born in 1970, defied the odds of time and poverty to become the world swimming champion and bring honour to her homeland. Since she was a toddler, Bula has had outstanding swimming skills, and her coach chose to train her for a brighter future. Before retiring in 1989, Bula progressed up the ranks, capturing national, international, and even English Channel swimming medals. Bula, who has received the Arjuna Award, the Padmashri Award, and the Tenzing Norgay lifetime adventure sports award, has risen from obscurity to prominence. In 2006, this sports women entered politics, winning a seat in the Legislative Assembly.
So there you have it: the top 15 Indian female athletes who have represented our country admirably. Women in India are stifled by many sports customs and authorities, which is a sad reality. They must be encouraged to participate in national sports. Our country has sufficient resources, and we can truly make it happen. These famous Indian sports women serve as role models for young girls and women around the country. Let us inspire the next generation of superstars to follow in the footsteps of these trailblazers.
Every every day, you make us proud. Happy International Women's Day!!
When you join our subscribe list, you get access to the best of sports inspiration, tips, stories and more to practice your sport. Just One Digest Per Month (Promise)
Please subscribe here