Women athletes are taking the world by storm and while with the likes of Serena Williams,Simone Biles and Katie Ledecy require no introduction, India has quite a few women who are going great runs.
On International Women’s Day, The Statesman has compiled a list of five finest Indian athletes who are making the country proud.
The Comeback Girl: Saina Nehwal
2016 was arguably the toughest and most rewarding year of Saina Nehwal’s glittering career.
Well, a career-threatening knee injury wrecked her chances of becoming the first Indian woman to win back-to-back Olympic medals but after a long-injury layoff she came into arguably the best form of her life.
After winning the 2016 Australian Open and the 2017 Malaysian Masters, it is safe to say Saina is here to stay and has smashed away any retirement thoughts!
The Queen of the Ring: Sakshi Malik
2016 was a momentous year for Indian sports but it was the year that our females truly saved our bacon on the biggest sporting spectacle that is the Olympics. Superstars were born and while they all deserve the recognition that came her way, Sakshi Malik perhaps deserves it all and more.
Born in Haryana, a state notorious for its poor sex ratio and disturbingly high female foeticide rate, this freestyle wrestler forever etched her name in history by storming her way to a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Games. An Asian Games and Commonwealth Games medallist prior to her historic triumph in Brazil, Sakshi has emerged as a torch bearer for encouraging the participation of girls in sports. Dare we say, should Sakshi chose to retire from professional wrestling tomorrow, her Rio triumph alone will inspire countless generations.
The Precocious Prodigy: Aditi Ashok
She may not have won the inaugural golf championships at the Rio Games, but fresh-faced Aditi Ashok sure left a mark on the Indian public. In an often-elitist sport dominated by men, the teenager continued to script history after the Olympics, as she became the first Indian woman to win a Ladies European Tour title when she bagged the Hero Women’s Indian Open. Continuing to blaze a trail for aspiring athletes she then won the Rookie of the Year award before receiving an LPGA Tour card for 2017 to continue her amazing story.
The Evergreen Star: Sania Mirza
She’s been around for so long it is difficult to believe Sania Mirza is just 30. After catching the attention of the Indian public as power-hitting 18-year-old, this Hyderabadi has gone from strength to strength. While an Olympic medal continues to elude her, having six Grand Slam titles and an impressive 41 WTA titles isn’t a bad trophy cabinet to have at home. After switching to doubles full time to prolong her career, Sania is going strong and with possibly a decade of tennis ahead, can easily double her Grand Slam tally.
The Silver Superstar: PV Sindhu
Last but certainly not the least.
If 2016 belonged to a single sports entity (male or female) it has to be this tall lass who may have fallen agonisingly short of winning a gold at the 2016 Olympics, but made a nation of billion plus proud with a display that had plenty of heart. With accolades and endorsements coming her way by the dozen it would have been easy to switch off and rest on her laurels, but she proved her Olympic performance wasn't a flash in the pan with a win at the prestigious Syed Modi International. Still just 21, Sindhu is one for the present and the future for sure.