The Men Behind Our Women: Meet The Coaches Who Trained Olympians For Glory

These Olympic women coaches have been rallying behind our athletes with relentless training that got them laurels and recognition at the games in Tokyo this year.

Tanvi Akhauri
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Olympic women coaches: The Summer Olympics in Tokyo drew to a close on Sunday with a sparkling finish for India that won its highest medal tally ever at the sporting event with seven victories. It was a historic show, with our sportspersons bringing in heaping in a gold, two silvers and four bronzes across categories.

What especially stood out this season were the top-skilled performances our women Olympians delivered. From weightlifter Mirabai Chanu opening India's medal count on the very first day of the games with silver to the resilient women's hockey team breaking new ground by entering semifinals for the first time ever, each presentation was a wonderful reinforcement of women's physical prowess and brought the gender barriers down bit by bit with booming declarations that said, 'Yes, women can play sports.'

And since empowerment cannot thrive in the vacuum of joint effort, the men behind our women need laudation that is as loud, if not louder. The male coaches of our Indian sportswomen who chiseled their aptitude for the Olympics hold their heads high in pride at what they accomplished together. Here's honouring them:

Olympic Women Coaches: The Stars Who Made The Stars

1. PV Sindhu

Consistent with a smile and support beside badminton champ PV Sindhu, from the time she trained for the Olympics to after, when she returned to India in all her glory, coach Park Tae-Sang was witness to it with her. The South Korean coach was the first person Sindhu hugged after securing her win in Tokyo.

Though the win this year was historic for Sindhu and India - making her the first sportswoman in the country with two Olympic medals - it also holds profound value for Tae-Sang who

I am also really happy because, for the first time in my coaching career, my player got a medal. I am really happy: Park Tae-Sang, South Korean badminton player and coach of shuttler PV Sindhu, on her bronze medal at #OlympicGames

β€” ANI (@ANI) August 2, 2021 "for the first time in my coaching career, my player got a medal."


2. Lovlina Borgohain

Only the second woman from India to win an Olympic medal in boxing, Lovlina Borgohain has trained hard and long to get to where she is - a feat she attributes in part to the "pillars" of her game who "carried her through good and bad times."

Performance director for women's boxing in India, Rafale Bergamasco was key in her journey while coach Sandhya Gurung, who overcame an accident and paralysis, challenged obstacles of her own to help Borgohain along towards her dream. National coach Mohammed Ali Qamar, meanwhile, always an admirer of her "cool mind" in the ring smoothened the edges of her fighting strategy with her.

3. Mirabai Chanu

An elated Mirabai Chanu is not getting over her Olympic win anytime soon, it seems. The 27-year-old weightlifter's social media gallery sees a new addition from her Tokyo win diaries every day - and featured prominently in them (besides her precious silver medal, of course) is her coach Vijay Sharma.

A national weightlifting coach, Sharma has been in training with Chanu for eight years now - a bond he said in an interview is special because "she understands what I want to do and does it even before I tell her about it."


4. Indian Women's Hockey Team

Despite returning without a medal, the Indian women's hockey team players are the undisputed stars of the moment. Backed by the relentless faith their Dutch coach Sjoerd Marijne had in them, the 'super sixteen' went beyond all expectations to deliver the very best. They missed bronze by a whisker but inspired a million dreams of young girls across the country who are told sports is not for them.

"It makes the girls very proud and the country very proud. And this has never been done before so I think it is a great thing," Marijne tellsΒ SheThePeopleΒ in an exclusive interview after the Olympics. "The fighting spirit of the whole team has been great."

Olympic Girls olympic coaches Mirabai Chanu indian women's hockey coach indian sportswomen coaches Sjoerd Marijne