A stellar year for Indian sportswomen, the Rio Olympics put the focus completely on them. Weren’t you cheering when Sakshi Malik suddenly turned the game around and won the bronze or shouting in front of the television when P.V. Sindhu was playing her finals and emerged winning a silver. And every time Dipa Karmakar did the Produnova, I literally jumped out of my seat.
If you felt the same way about these sportstars, then you would love to know about a few more, including the super famous tennis world No.1 in women’s doubles – Sania Mirza.
- Sania Mirza
Twice in a row, World No.1 in Women’s Doubles, Sania is actually the first Indian woman to ever achieve this feat in tennis. This year, she sustained her position as the first ranked. This year, she also released her autobiography Ace Against Odds which shows Sania’s journey from being a young player to developing into a mature champion, all in the eyes of the public. Sania definitely continues to rule our hearts!
- Sakshi Malik
The 23-year-old wrestler stunned the country when she won India’s first medal in this year’s Rio Olympics. When India was so much in need of a medal, Sakshi gave us a Bronze in her sport. Even after returning from Rio, she has constantly been advocating ways tp improve women’s condition in wrestling and sports in rural areas. Recently, the Rohtak girl also declined to go to an event organised by the Khap community in her state.
An outstabding player, Sindhu recently won the China Open in a decisive game, making it a historic win in a country where very few non-Chinese have won the individual title. This is only another feather in her cap of victories. Sindhu concluded her Rio trip to the Olympics with a Silver medal. Her coach P Gopichand advised her to get back to training right after Rio and she did. She started the deadly three-against-one training, which is only for the extremely strong shutllers.
Paralympian Deepa Malik won silver medal this year at Rio Paralympics. “I want to use this medal to support women with disabilities in India.” – Deepa Malik told IANS soon after she scripted the historic victory. Deepa’s dedication and passion for sports can be seen by the fact that she has not let disability — she is paralysed waist down — be a hurdle to achieve her dreams.
- Dipa Karmakar
Produnova queen, Dipa Karmakar, became the first female gymnast from India to qualify for the Olympics this year. No doubt, the Tripura-born Dipa made us go gaga over her even as though she missed winning a medal. The gymnast, who has been practising since the age of five, had no financial support from the state sports authorities and yet her achievement shows extreme dedication.
- Aditi Ashok
Golfer Aditi Ashok recently clinched India Open as she beat Ladies European Tour star, Brittany Lincicome, on 13 November. She became the first female Indian ever to win an LET tournament since the emergence of India Open a decade ago. Aditi celebrated her 18th birthday this year. The LET win was preceded by an amazing feat in the Olympics where the pro-golfer introduced Indian viewers to golf.
- Harmanpreet Kaur
Women’s cricket hogged the limelight this year after its outstanding performance in the T20 and the recently concluded in the three-match ODI against West Indies . However, batswoman Harmanpreet or Harry has carved a special place for herself. This year specifically, the T20 captain, Harry was approached by an overseas team — Sydney Thunder — to play for them in the Women’s Big Bash League for the season on 2016-2017. She has become the first woman in India to do so, since the BCCI gave the green signal to the proposal.
- Rani Rampal
Though the women’s hockey team lost the series with Australia with a 1-2 score, Rani Rampal’s performance was much appreciated. India’s finest in women’s hockey, Rani, is a striker who often doubles as a mid-fielder. Her electric speed, superior stick work, ball sense and confidence have won her many accolades and matches. She made her professional debut at the age of 14 and is the youngest to do it in the Indian team.
- Deepika Kumari
Ace archer, Deepika Kumari, alsio qualified for Rio this year but missed the chance to bring home a medal. But do you know that Deepika has equalled the World Record in the Women’s Recurve event at the qualifying stage of the Archery World Cup in Shanghai? She is currently ranked number five and a former world number one. The precise archer, Deepika, is only 20 years old and comes from a very humble background in Jharkhand.