Fast and the Furious

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Fast and the Furious

It is hard for women sportspersons to shine, be at par with their male counterparts and bring home medals, especially in a country like India, a nation satiated with the glory in cricket and starved for recognition in other sporting events! Not to forget gender discrimination and lack of support from higher authorities in sports department. Nevertheless, there are a handful of women who managed to rise above stereotypes and prove everybody wrong, whoever thought women couldn’t make it in athletics!

This is a tribute to eight most remarkable Indian women who broke down barriers and excelled purely by their physical grit, mental determination and sheer love of sports.

Karnam Malleswari

Karnam, which means fame and dignity, lives up to her name. The weightlifter is the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal! During her career of ten years, she has won 11 gold and 3 silver medals, apart from the Olympic bronze. Karnam has been the National Champion for nine years and is also the recipient of Rajiv Gandhi Khel and Arjuna awards.

Mary Kom

The 29-year old, 5 feet 2 inches from Manipur has done India proud at the recent Olympics by bringing home a bronze medal! Mary Kom, a five-time World Boxing Champion, started boxing to provide for her family but later realized her potential and flair for the game. She has bagged Arjuna, Padma Shree and Rajiv Gandhi Khel awards among many others.

Saina Nehwal

At 22, Sania is the reigning Indian national junior and an Olympic champion. She is currently ranked No. 4 in the World Badminton Federation. Apart from an array of national and international honors and titles, the Haryana girl has three prestigious medals – a gold in World Junior Championships 2008, a gold in Commonwealth 2010, and a bronze in Olympics 2012!

PT Usha

The Queen of Indian track and field, P.T. Usha is one of the greatest athletes India ever had. She is also the first Indian woman (and the fifth Indian) to reach the final of an Olympic event! Usha has won an astounding 101 international medals! Currently, she runs her own training academy in Kerala and coaches aspiring athletes.

Shiny Wilson

Shiny and P.T. Usha studied at the same sports division in Kerala and both went on to become undisputed Queens of the 80s. Shiny was a National Champion in 800 metres for 14 years and represented India more than 75 times in international competitions and represented Asia in 4 World Cups!

Sania Mirza

The fashion forward and controversy favorite, Sania Mirza is the quintessential badminton player. The 5 feet 8 inches lassie from Mumbai is the first Indian female player to surpass US$1m in career earnings and is the only other Indian to win a Glam Slam title apart from Mahesh-Peas! Well known for her powerful forehand ground, Sania has even defeated champs like Martina Hingins and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Anjali Bhagwat

Anjali is one of the greatest Indian woman athletes of all time. The former World Number One in 10m Air Rifle has represented India in 3 consecutive Olympics, even been a finalist in one of them. Anjali is the only woman to have won the World Cup for India! The shooter has an astounding collection of medals, including 55 Gold, 35 Silver and 16 Bronze medals in national competitions and many others in international games.

Bachendri Pal

Bachendri Pal may not be an athlete or have an Olympic medal in her kitty, but what she has accomplished is quite rare. In 1984, she made history by becoming the first Indian woman to summit Mount Everest, and the fifth woman in the world! She continues to lead Himalayan and rafting expeditions and is currently employed in Tata Steel Adventure Foundation.

By |August 26th, 2012|INDIA|4 Comments


  1. Mala August 29, 2012 at 8:24 am - Reply

    this is a good list of women athletes from india. the yesteryears has so many more…they were really inspiration for others who wanted to do excel in sports and a shocker for those who thought women are just not made for sports.

  2. anita August 29, 2012 at 12:27 am - Reply

    Long Live Women Empowerment

  3. roh August 28, 2012 at 6:46 am - Reply

    oh yes.. we women rock.

    • VIWA August 28, 2012 at 10:31 am - Reply

      @ Roh – Sure!!

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