Indian Women in sports are smashing barriers and hits motivating little girls all across India to commit to games like never before.
Indian women’s hockey team secured the FIH Women’s Series Finals defeating Japan 3-1 on their home turf of Hiroshima. It was a spectacular victory marked by two goals from drag-flicker, Gurjit Kaur, and one from the captain, Rani Rampal. This win is the latest in a series of a triumphant run by the Indian women’s hockey team, which began with them qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics after a 36-year interval setting a standard for Indian women in sports.
The 19-year-old striker, Lalremsiami from Mizoram played the semi-final against Chile the day after her father, Lalthansanga Zote, passed away because of a heart attack. When Lalremsiami joined the team, she could barely speak English or Hindi. She interacted with her teammates initially through hand gestures, before picking up both languages with assistance from her teammates and self-help books.
The team’s head coach Sjoerd Marijne had given her the option of flying back home to attend her father’s funeral, but Lalremsiami affirmed, “I want to make my father proud. I want to stay, play and make sure that the team qualifies.”
Deep Grace Ekka & Sunita Lakra, both hailing from Odisha are farmer’s daughter, Sushila Chanu, born to a driver in Imphal, Nikki Pradhan, daughter of a police constable from Jharkhand- these are women who had to tackle abject poverty to pursue their ultimate passion in hockey.
In a historic achievement, India women’s rugby team claimed their first-ever international 15s win on Saturday. The historic win came against Singapore in the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship Division 1 as India won 21-19. In a tense match, India’s scrum-half Sumitra Nayak handed India the win after kicking a penalty in the dying minutes. Nayak, who was profiled by Sportstar last year, is at once an inspiration to future players and an example of the odds a sportswoman in India has to overcome to enter the field. Battling abject poverty and an abusive father, Nayak ran away with her mother and siblings to Bhubaneswar when she was only four years old.
A video of a member of the staff consoling a player who had dissolved into happy tears has now gone viral. The historic win has garnered salutes from all quarters including from Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper, Hindi cinema legendary icon Amitabh Bachchan, and actor & humanitarian Rahul Bose.
— Asia Rugby (@asiarugby) June 22, 2019
Indian women are kicking blockades in the football. India Football team captain and Goal-keeper Aditi Chauhan says, “There is a lot of effort being put in by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the government to bring us to a level and for the world to notice, because of that experience and match practice, we got a good result in South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) championship, beating Nepal in the final and then qualifying for the second round of the Olympic qualifiers.”
“Our performance speaks for itself and it is great that people have finally realized the potential of women’s football in India and putting in the effort to get the best out of it. First, it is important that the national team games are being telecast so that the efforts we are putting on the field is also showed on television and more people can actually see the standard of football and see how we perform. If the national team games are telecast to a wider audience, that would be a big boost in spreading awareness about the sport. We can’t compare men and women’s football in India. We are at a stage where we are growing and trying to reach the level set by them [men]. It’s unfair to compare. But from what I feel, we are heading in the right direction,” said Aditi when asked if women’s footballers were underpaid.
Women in the most loved sports in our country, Cricket- are also fighting to earn a brand. Women’s cricket is set to be part of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games as the CGF Thursday nominated its inclusion in the 2022 edition. The Executive Board of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) met and approved the inclusion of women’s cricket, beach volleyball, and para table tennis into the Games programme for the Birmingham edition. The inclusion of these three sports will now need to be ratified by 51 percent of the CGF members next month.
“Our recommendation of adding women’s cricket, beach volleyball and Para table tennis is the result of a thorough review and we believe these sports would help us to enhance the existing programme and reach new audiences, while showcasing the sports to our local community, spectators and fans across the world, watching on TV. It’s also a selection that could help ensure that the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be the most inclusive in history, with a potential for the largest ever para-sports programme and more female medallists than ever before, representing a great story not just for Birmingham 2022, but for women’s sport in general,” he added.
Courage and commitment, sacrifice and spirit, are what Indian women in sports are made of, not sugar and spice. There is a long way to go to make sports as a career more inclusive and profitable for women. They believed in themselves before anyone else could. Somewhere behind the athlete they’ve become, the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed them- is a little girl who fell in love with the sport and never looked back into the abyss. They keep playing, making memories despite misfortunes and they handle it all supremely fine to uplift the spirit of other Indian women in sports!