Over the years we have seen the nation develop an interest in sports like boxing, wrestling, weightlifting, and track and field. The credit for that needs Indian athletes who secured medals for the country at international sporting events like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games etc. Had it not been for the likes of PV Sindhu, MC Mary Kom, Neeraj Chopra, Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Mirabai Chanu etc., we would still be a nation where sports was defined by our love for the game of cricket.
Indian women athletes have equally added to the impressive tally of medals clinched by Indian athletes over the past few years. Because of their impressive performance, sports is no longer considered a male domain, and parents encourage their daughters to pursue a career in athletics. So be it boxing, wrestling, table tennis or gymnastics, young Indian women are venturing into sports across different games, raising hopes for a golden athletic future of the country.
While we always celebrate the established sportswomen of the country, for their pathbreaking journey which broke stereotypes like Ladkiyan kushti nahi ladti, we should also cheer for emerging faces in Indian athletics who promise to attain new heights and records for the country.
National Sports Day 2022: Promising Women Athletes In India
Shilky Devi Hemam
Shilky Devi Hemam was the youngest player at the Women’s Asia Football Cup in 2022. This 16-year-old is a defender from Manipur was also the South Asian Football Federation U-15 Women’s Championship’s top score. Born in Manipur’s Moirang village, Hemam was encouraged by her father to pursue the game and she seems to be on track to bring the much needed recognition to Indian women’s football. Read more about Hemam’s journey here.
On August 27 this year, 15 years old Linthoi Chanambam created history by bagging India’s first ever gold medal in Judo in any age category at World Cadet Championships 2022, which was held in Sarjevo. The young judoka from Manipur won the in 57 kg category. She has also won gold medals at national sub-junior championships and Asian Cadet and Junior Judo Championships previously. The teen is already eyeing Olympic glory. “I will try my best to win a medal in Paris, but if not in Paris, I am sure I can do it at the 2028 Olympics,” she said.
This 18-year-old long jumper from Jhansi was ranked among the top 20 long jumpers in the world, under the age of 18 till she crosses the age threshold. Singh also holds the national record of longest jump in the Under 18 slot and has broken her own record three times, landing at the top. She has been a gold medalist at Junior National Athletic championships over years and also brought home silver at the World Athletic U20 Championships in 2021. Check out her inspiring journey here.
Hailing from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, this 17-year-old sprinter is a promising name in India’s track and field talent pool. She gave a glimpse of her capabilities at the World Athletic U20 Championships 2022 by becoming the first ever Indian to bag two medals at the same World U-20 event by scoring a bronze in 400 m race and silver in 4 x 400 m race. Chaudhary, who hails from a farming family, had to overcome many hurdles including financial challenges to reach where she is today.
One of India’s top female chess players and national chess championship ace Divya Deshmukh, who hails from Maharashtra, is India’s 21st woman grandmaster. She aced the 47th National Women’s Chess Championship and became the fourth youngest player in history to be given a senior title at only 16 years of age. She is also the first ranking player in the under 18 age group and holds the fifth rank in under 20 categories of chess in India.
This 14-year-old from Delhi became the youngest player to participate at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games from India in any sport. She was the number 1 squash player in Asia and Europe in U-13 category and brought India its first gold in history at U-11 British Open squash tournament in 2019 and was also the first Indian to top the U-15 US Open in 2021. Get to know more about this stunning squash player here.
Hailing from West Bengal, this 18-year-old gymnast clinched a gold medal at the Khelo India Youth Games in women’s under-17 all-round artistic gymnastics category. Samanta then became a part of the six member team representing India at the World Cups being held in Baku, Egypt and Azarbaijan. Samanta has been training Dipa Karmakar’s coach Bisweshar Nandi for the past three years.
India’s best table tennis player in the U-15 category is 13-year-old Jennifer Varghese from Nagpur, Maharashtra. After a stellar performance at national and state level championships, Varghese made her International debut in 2022 at Tunis and instantly made a place in world’s top 20 best players with a gold. In her second international match, she beat world’s number 4 player Bianca Mei Rosu.