The ‘Women in sports’ narrative is slowly changing, and Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2022 is here to prove it.
Women athletes won 25 medals in various game formats (Team, Mixed, doubles, Singles). Mirabai Chanu was the first Indian to win gold at CWG 2022. The Lawn Bowls Women team scripted history by winning India’s first gold medal in the sport. It would be right to say that women athletes owned CWG 2022 in Birmingham. India finished fourth with 66 medals in the CWG 2022 medal tally, behind Australia, England, and Canada.
Women’s victory in CWG 2022 has received a lot of attention worldwide. For instance – actor Chris Hemsworth called CWG gold medalist Mirabai Chanu ‘a legend‘. Chanu comes from an economically weaker section, yet made herself a name in the sports world. She makes us believe that sport has the power to change lives. Women are expected to be carers of their family, before any other occupation. Sportswomen keep grit to dent these stereotypical impressions about India, just like Neetu Sarkar did, a wrestler, and mother of two. Despite the obstacles, all these athletes with their hard work have outshined men. With more representation of women, it can help promote inclusivity and gender equality.
CWG 2022 Women Representation in Sport
Like all fields, gender inequality thrives in sports as well. Women athletes still feel they are seen as women first and athletes second. Cultural biases and gender roles yet hamper women’s choices. Stereotypically, sports is also seen in the masculine (Weightlifting, Hockey) and feminine categories (gymnastics and figure skating). Women winning medals in CWG 2022 defied such notions. Bindyarani Devi’s Silver in Weightlifting, Sushila Devi Likmabam’s Silver in Judo, and Vinesh Phogat’s Gold in Wrestling challenge the male-dominant nature of the sports. These women broke stereotypes and came out as winners.
Nayan Moni Saikia comes from a family of farmers in the small town of Assam. She began her career in 2008 pursuing weightlifting but chose to play lawn bowls, citing a leg injury. Lawn bowls champion Lovely Choubey is a police constable who hails from Jharkhand. Para table tennis player, Bhavina Patel suffered from poliomyelitis. Despite being differently abled, she never stopped believing in herself. These women athletes have tried to break free from discrimination, cultural biases, and physical impossibilities to build a successful career in sports. Their medal carries more weight as their victory is an outcome of their struggles.
Women in sports can make inspiring role models and can help bring men and women on equal pedestal. Women athletes have always inspired young girls to live their dreams. Several inspirational women like Mary Kom, Nikhat Zareen, Mithali Raj, Sania Mirza, PV Sindhu, and more have made the nation proud with their impressive performances on the field.
These women champions are also creating space for themselves in conventionally ‘male-dominated sports’. The men’s cricket team has religious following across the country, but the same love for the women’s team has been missing. The women’s team not only claimed the space but with their victories at CWG 2022 and other recent tournaments won the heart of people. While these impressive performances by women athletes have been able to make a positive impact in the world of sports but will they also be able to effectively change the narrative around women in sports in Indian society?
Sports have the tremendous power to unite. People of different religions, countries, caste and have literally found many common grounds to cheer at. With proper support from the system and society, can women athletes do even better? Will we see more women medal winners in upcoming championships?
List of CWG 2022 Women Medalists
|3.||Sushila Devi Likmabam||Silver||Judo|
|5.||Indian women’s team
Lovely Choubey, Rupa Rani Tirkey, Naynmoni Saikia, Pinki
|14.||Sonalben Patel||Bronze||Para Table Tennis|
|15.||Bhavina Patel||Gold||Para Table Tennis|
|16.||Women’s hockey team
|21.||Women’s cricket team||Silver||Cricket|
|23.||Treesa Jolly / Gayatri Gopichand||Bronze||Badminton|
|25.||India badminton team||Silver||Badminton|
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