In several sectors, women have brought honour to India whether it is in politics, medicine, academia, activism, or sports. There are several female athletes who have maintained the Indian flag soaring high in sports. Their contribution is all the more noteworthy because they had to overcome numerous obstacles in order to realise their goals. It has never been easy to overcome social stigmas and pursue your passion, particularly for Indian women athletes. The time when a woman’s main function was to support her family financially is long gone. She has evolved into a lot more than that. She serves as the foundation for the entire society. Women have influenced India’s development in a variety of ways, including as deities, activists, scholars, and fighters for independence. Indian female athletes have made significant contributions to the sports industry. Let us today talk about how!
Table of contents
- The Legendary Women in Sports in India
- History of Women in Sports in India
- Challenges Faced by Women in Sports
- 30 Famous Women in Sports in India | Female Athletes
- P.T. Usha | Greatest Women in sports in India
- Mary Kom | Women in Indian Sports
- Greatest Women in sports in India Karnam Malleshwari
- Geeta Phogat | Female in sports
- PV Sindhu | Female Athletes in India
- Saina Nehwal | Indian Sports Women
- Mithali Raj | India women players
- Deepa Malik | Female in sports
- Sania Mirza | Female Athletes in India
- Dipa Karmakar | Indian Sports Women
- Sakshi Malik | Indian Sports Women
- Smriti Mandhana | India women players
- Deepika Kumari | Female Athletes in India
- Tania Sachdeva | Female in sports
- Rani Rampal | Women in Indian Sports
- Dutee Chand | Indian Sports Women
- Hima Das | Female in sports
- Dipika Pallika | India women players
- Vinesh Phogat | Female Athletes in India
- Jhulan Goswami | Indian Sports Women
- Mirabai Chanu | India women players
- Apurvi Chandela | Women in Indian Sports
- Manika Batra | Female Athletes in India
- Harmanpreet Kaur | Women in Indian Sports
- Anju Bobby George | Greatest Women in sports in India
- Heena Sidhu | Women in Indian Sports
- Bhavani Devi | Women in Indian Sports
- Manu Bhaker | Women in Indian Sports
- Lovlina Borgohain | Women in Indian Sports
- PU Chitra | Greatest Women in sports in India
The Legendary Women in Sports in India
Female athletes from our nation did not acquire any kind of international recognition until 1952. Nilima Ghose and Mary D’Souza made history by being the first Indian women to be eligible for and participate in the Helsinki Summer Olympics in 1952. Suheil Tandon, the man behind Pro Sports Development (PSD), said that “sport is an especially effective tool of empowerment.” The sports sector needs more female representation to dispel prejudices and give women the voice they deserve. Despite these obstacles, numerous female athletes have excelled and brought honour to the nation.
Sports have long played a significant role in the culture and heritage of India, a nation with many different cultures and traditions. Indian men and women now have the opportunity to improve their lives via skill and simple hard effort thanks to the realm of sports. In a nation where women were traditionally not allowed to play sports or pursue jobs in the field, Indian sports have produced some legendary female athletes.
There are many well-known Indian sportswomen, such as PV Sindhu, Sania Mirza, Mary Kom, Mithali Raj, Rani Ramphal Tania Sachdev, and Saina Nehwal, whose unwavering motivation led them to success in their respective sporting careers.
History of Women in Sports in India
In both the previous Olympics and the current Summer Games, Indian women have easily outperformed their male counterparts, and the word “gold” is merely a metaphor for this success. The availability of numerous sports is not the only positive indicator. The diversity of the female group this year adds to its appeal.
In a time before social media and when the internet was still in its infancy, people were glued to their televisions as 25-year-old Karnam Malleswari made history at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The weightlifter from the Andhra Pradesh town of Voosavanipeta competed in the women’s 54 kg event and placed third with lifts of 110 kg in the snatch and 130 kg in the clean and jerk. They are not only winning accolades on multiple stages; they are also dismantling social preconceptions on a mostly untraveled path.
The drive to win medals unites mothers, teenagers, married, single and athletes from busy cities to quiet enclaves. Unknown athletes’ exploits in less well-known sports have ensured that the groundwork has been built for them to gain recognition over time, even though an Olympic cut would definitely draw attention to a sport that had previously gone unnoticed by the general public.
Pioneers in these Games, including Bhavani Devi in fencing and Nethra Kumanan in sailing, have broken the glass ceiling, allowing the rest of the competitors to travel unexplored territory. Going back to the beginning, the first ten years of the twenty-first century will be regarded as the turning point when a plethora of courageous female athletes developed a decisive strategy for overcoming hurdles. despite the challenges that had previously hindered so many others from reaching greater success, to alter narratives.
Challenges Faced by Women in Sports
For decades, men’s athletes have had numerous options to compete for championships, whereas women’s players have had to participate in an organisation dedicated just to women’s sports. Women are subjected to barrels of effervescent sexism on a regular basis, whether at work or at home. This changed as many women fought the odds and made sports available to girls of all ages today. Many issues persist in today’s women’s athletic organisations. Why is this such an obvious choice for men? Why is it that sports is generally associated with males?
As a viewer, it is simple to take this reality at face value, yell, and forget. But for the women that have to deal with this on a daily basis, it’s not as simple as accepting, forgiving, and forgetting. They are locked in a never-ending battle for a place in the industry that is what they do right, and none of it is easy.
- Funding and Budget – Women’s sports have less money than men’s sports, making it harder for women to compete and conduct consistent programmes.
- Buoyant Sexism – Women are subjected to barrels of effervescent sexism on a regular basis, whether at work or at home. They are watched and critiqued based on how they dress and speak.
- Gender Disparity -Despite their attempts to campaign for their social rights, women still do not obtain the same amount of professional respect or recognition as their male colleagues, notably in the sports business.
- Lack of Access and Costlier – Because of a lack of sports instruction in schools and restricted possibilities to play sports in high school and college, girls must search elsewhere for sports, which might not exist or may be more expensive.
- Safety and Transportation Issues – Sports necessitate a venue for participation, which for many girls, particularly those living in congested metropolitan areas, means traversing dangerous neighbourhoods or being unable to go to a quality facility located miles away.
- Social Attitudes and Disfigurement – Despite recent improvements, discrimination against female athletes based on their actual or alleged sexuality or gender identity persists.
- Decreased Quality Training – The amenities are not as nice as those used by the boys, and the playing periods may not be ideal.
- Lack of Positive Role Models – Today’s girls are inundated with images of exterior beauty rather than confident, strong female athletes.
- Limited Media Coverage – Women’s sports are frequently underrepresented in the media, making it difficult for female athletes to get exposure and funding.
- Pregnancy and Maternity – Female athletes frequently experience difficulties juggling parenting and their athletic careers.
30 Famous Women in Sports in India | Female Athletes
|Famous Athletes of India
|Paralympic – Shot put
|Smriti Shriniwas Mandhana
|Anju Bobby George
P.T. Usha | Greatest Women in sports in India
P.T. Usha is regarded as the “queen of Indian track and field” and is a household figure in Indian sports. The Indian Olympic Association’s president is a retired track and field athlete. The recipient of the Padma Shri award won seven silver medals and four Asian gold medals. One of her career-high points was placing fourth in the 400-meter hurdles race at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, just missing out on the bronze by 1/100th of a second.
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Mary Kom | Women in Indian Sports
Mary Kom, a multiple World Champion in boxing, is next on our list of the finest Indian women athletes. She is the first female or male boxer to have collected eight medals from the World Championship (six gold, one silver, and one bronze). She also won five gold medals in the Asian Championships. Above all, she took home a bronze medal at the London Olympics in 2012. In 2009, she received the esteemed Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.
Greatest Women in sports in India Karnam Malleshwari
Karnam Malleswari won the bronze medal in weightlifting at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, making her the first female Indian athlete to do so. She gained notoriety and earned the moniker “The Iron Lady” of India following this momentous occasion. Malleshwari did received the Arjuna Award in 1994 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the nation’s highest athletic honour, in celebration of her victory. She was given the Padma Shri award in the same year.
Geeta Phogat | Female in sports
Freestyle wrestler Geeta Phogat became the first female athlete from India to win a gold medal in wrestling at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. At the 2012 FILA Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament, which was held in Kazakhstan, she also took home a gold medal. She is the first female wrestler from India to earn a spot in the Olympic Summer Games. She took home the bronze medal from the 2012 World Wrestling Championships in Canada.
PV Sindhu | Female Athletes in India
P.V. Sindhu is regarded as the finest Indian female athlete of all time by a sizable segment of sports fans in India. She holds five medals from the World Championships and is the first Indian woman to have won two medals at the Olympics. Furthermore, Sindhu has earned five medals at the Commonwealth Games, including two golds, in addition to two medals each at the Asian Games and the Asian Championships. In terms of national honours, Sindhu got the Padma Shri in 2015, the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna in 2016, and the Arjuna Award in 2013. She also won the Padma Bhushan in 2020.
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Saina Nehwal | Indian Sports Women
In badminton, Saina Nehwal is a legendary player. She is praised as one of India’s greatest athletes to ever compete in the sport. The 2012 London Olympics saw India’s former World No. 1 singles player earn a bronze medal for his country, making history by being the first Indian to ever win a medal at an Olympics in badminton. In 2010, she was given the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.
Mithali Raj | India women players
Former cricketer Mithali Raj was also awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna. Additionally, she has received national honours like the 2003 Arjuna Award and the 2015 Padma Shri. The legendary batsman has scored the most runs for India overall in all competitions, including Tests, ODIs, and T20 Internationals.
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Deepa Malik | Female in sports
Deepa Malik, who represents India in parasports, is an extraordinary woman. She currently serves as the President of the Indian Paralympic Committee, but her route there has been anything from smooth. Deepa chose to create her own narrative rather than letting one accident dictate her entire life. She disproved several myths and became the first Indian to ever take home a medal from the Paralympics. We will commemorate Deepa Malik’s life in this Leverage Edu blog and learn about how she came to be who she is now.
Sania Mirza | Female Athletes in India
Sania Mirza is arguably the best Indian tennis player to ever play. In her career, she won six Grand Slams, three in women’s doubles & three in mixed doubles. She received the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honour, in addition to the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna honour in 2015.
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Dipa Karmakar | Indian Sports Women
Dipa Karmakar is an artistic gymnast from India. She became the first female gymnast from India to take home a bronze medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which helped her achieve notoriety on the national level. She overcame physical and financial hardships to become a gymnast and brought honour to her country.
Sakshi Malik | Indian Sports Women
This athlete won gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics, making her the first female wrestler from India to do so. Malik’s first triumphs in the international ring as a professional wrestler occurred in 2010 at the Junior World Championship and again in 2014 at the Dave Schultz International Tournament.
Smriti Mandhana | India women players
Indian captain Smriti Mandhana’s career has been fascinating—from accompanying her brother to cricket practice to becoming one of the pillars of the Indian women’s cricket team and the successor apparent to the legendary Mithali Raj. Smriti Mandhana, who is currently regarded as one of the top batters in women’s cricket, is the owner of numerous cherished records. Mandhana, the ICC women’s cricket rankings’ previous No. 1 ODI hitter in terms of the world, is the team’s youngest captain.
Deepika Kumari | Female Athletes in India
The current world number 9 in the sport of archery is an Indian athlete named Deepika Kumari. She had held the top spot in the world for archery, but she never earned the respect she deserved. For her outstanding performance, she received the Arjuna Award, Padma Shri, and FICCI Sportsperson of the Year awards.
Tania Sachdeva | Female in sports
The name Tania Sachdeva is well-known in women’s chess. She is a Woman Grandmaster and an International Master. Since 2008, she has competed for the Indian national team in the Women’s Chess Olympiads, as well as the 2009 Asian Indoor Games, Women’s World Team Chess Championship, Women’s Asian Team Chess Championship, and Women’s Asian Team Chess Championship in 2009 and 2011.
Rani Rampal | Women in Indian Sports
In the Indian hockey squad, Rani Rampal plays a significant role. Her breakthrough game was the Champion’s Challenge Tournament, where she was named the “young player of the tournament” and “top goal scorer.” She joined the national squad at the 2010 World Cup as the youngest player, at the age of 15.
Dutee Chand | Indian Sports Women
Sprinter Dutee Chand, who was born in 1996, shared her sister Saraswati Chand’s dream of becoming a national athlete. She competed in both the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. In 2019, she became the first sprinter from India to win gold at the World Universiade as she completed the 100 metres in 11.32 seconds. In support of this sports heroine, Indian women athletes competed during the 2017 Asian Championship.
Hima Das | Female in sports
Hima Das, an Assamese sprinter, set the 400-meter national record in 50.7 seconds at the 2018 Asian Games. She is the first female Indian athlete to win a track event with a gold medal at the International Association of Athletics Federations World U20 Championships. 2018 saw this athlete win the Arjuna Award from the President of India. Hima Das defied all odds to make India proud despite her humble roots and general lack of opportunities.
Dipika Pallika | India women players
Squash player Dipika Pallikal Karthik is from India. She was born on September 21, 1991, and her mother’s maiden name was Pallikal. She is the first player of Indian heritage to reach the top ten in the women’s PSA rankings history. The couple gave birth to identical sons they called Kabir and Zian on October 18, 2021.
Vinesh Phogat | Female Athletes in India
Vinesh Phogat is from a well-known wrestling family. She is one of the “Phogat sisters,” women who have brought India much honour on the world stage. Freestyle wrestler won the highly esteemed Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award. She is the first Indian athlete to be nominated for the Laureus World Sports Awards and the first female wrestler from India to have won numerous medals at the World Wrestling Championships.
Jhulan Goswami | Indian Sports Women
Jhulan Goswami played cricket for two decades, from 2002 to 2022, before retiring. She now holds the record for most wickets taken in Women’s One-Day International cricket with 225. In 2010 and 2012, the fast bowler won the Arjuna and Padma Shri awards, respectively.
Mirabai Chanu | India women players
Mirabai Chanu has become a phenomenal weightlifter with a modest demeanour. She earned a silver medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and gold at the Commonwealth Games. The Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna champion also holds the 49 kg Clean & Jerk world record.
Apurvi Chandela | Women in Indian Sports
Apurvi Chandela, a 1993-born shooter, originally intended to pursue a career in sports journalism but changed her mind after seeing Abhinav Bindra won the gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. She eventually travelled the path to winning two Olympic medals. The next year, she competed in her first World Cup, and her bronze medal in Changwon enabled her to earn a spot in her first Olympic Games. She made both India and herself proud.
Apurvi Chandela utilised her Olympic debut as a learning opportunity to challenge herself and reach new heights.
Manika Batra | Female Athletes in India
Manika Batra, one of the true stars of Indian table tennis, is a two-time Olympian, two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist, and recipient of numerous other awards. She was the first female Indian table tennis player to get to the round of 32 in a competition at Tokyo 2020. Manika Batra, a Delhi native who started playing table tennis with her siblings at a young age, chose to focus on the sport in her teens rather than pursue modelling opportunities. The rising young talent hopes to make table tennis in India what Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu made badminton in the nation.
Harmanpreet Kaur | Women in Indian Sports
“See ball, hit ball” is Virender Sehwag’s catchphrase, and Harmanpreet Kaur lives by it. She is a representative of the modern-day Indian women’s cricketer, a member of the generation that has been the focus of commercial campaigns, celebrity endorsements, and major contracts. She broke new ground by being the first cricketer from India, male or female, to sign a deal with Sydney Thunder in Australia’s Big Bash League. The agreement resulted from her outstanding performance during India’s tour of Australia in January 2016, when she scored 46 runs off just 31 balls to lead India to their highest-ever T20 chase. She became the first Indian player to sign with Surrey Stars in the ECB’s Kia Super League in June 2017.
Anju Bobby George | Greatest Women in sports in India
Anju Bobby George, a talented athlete from a Syrian Orthodox family who was born in Kerala in 1977, has won competitions like the long jump as well as the high jump since she was in school. She earned gold medals at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the 2002 and 2006 Asian Games, the 2005 Asian Championships, and the 2006 South Asian Games. She received the Arjuna Honour in 2002–2003, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna honour in 2003–2004, and the Padma Shri, the fourth–highest civilian honour in India, in 2004. This sportswoman’s journey in the world athlete championship from sixth to the sixty-first position was the result of unrelenting devotion and perseverance.
Heena Sidhu | Women in Indian Sports
Heena Sidhu was born in Ludhiana on August 29, 1989, and raised in Patiala, this person has a Punjabi accent. She is a skilled Indian shooter and the first pistol shooter from India to be ranked No. 1 in the world (as of April 7, 2014) by ISSF. She was also the first pistol shooter from India to win a gold medal at the 2013 ISSF World Cup Finals – Pistol in 10 metre Air Pistol event. After the National Rifle Association of India was established on April 17, 1951, she is also the first Indian shooter to have been on the cover of ISSF magazine. With a final score of 203.8, Sidhu holds the title of 10-metre air pistol Finals World Record holder.
Bhavani Devi | Women in Indian Sports
Chadalavada Anandha Sundhararaman CA alias Bhavani Devi Bhavani Devi is the first Indian woman to earn an Olympic berth. She will make her Olympic debut at the next Tokyo Games. She broke the 44-year fencing record to win the first gold medal for fencing at the Common Wealth Championship, and she is the only Indian to rank among the top 50 fencers in the world.
Manu Bhaker | Women in Indian Sports
Manu Bhaker, India’s newest rising star, quickly advanced through the ranks even as a teenager. Just after the 2016 Rio Olympics finished, she made the snap decision to attempt shooting when she was 14 years old and fell in love with it. At the Asian Junior Championships in 2017, she later earned a silver medal, and the following year, Manu Bhaker made a grand entrance on a major platform.
Lovlina Borgohain | Women in Indian Sports
Indian boxer Lovlina Borgohain’s career has been nothing short of meteoric, winning medals at the Olympics, the World, and the Asian championships in the course of just a few short years. The young fighter needed far more than four years to get from a small village to the top of the world rankings, though. She received the Arjuna Award in 2020 for her remarkable boxing performance, making her the sixth Assamese individual to get the renowned honour.
PU Chitra | Greatest Women in sports in India
PU Chitra comes from a family of workers, the 24-year-old hasn’t had an easy time making his way to fame and notoriety. The track and field athlete, who was born to Unnikrishan and Vasantha Kumari, overcame all obstacles to win numerous state, national, and international school meet gold medals in the middle and long-distance track events. Success has once more been a hallmark of the current year thanks to Chitra’s gold medal at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha. The teenage prodigy, who is quickly emerging as one of India’s finest sprinters ever, put up yet another outstanding performance.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Sports have the ability to transform lives. ability to promote gender equality by encouraging teamwork, independence, resilience, and self-assurance in women and girls. Women in athletics challenge gender conventions and social expectations, serve as motivating role models, and portray men and women as equals. The Sport for Generation Equality Initiative, led by UN Women, is encouraging participants from all facets of the sports ecosystem to join a strong coalition to make gender equality a reality in and via sport. Together, this coalition will quicken efforts to support women’s leadership and equality in governance structures, stop and address gender-based violence, close the gap in funding for women’s sports and advance equal economic opportunities, support women’s equal participation and bias-free media representation, and give girls the same opportunities in sport, physical activity, and physical education.
Since the beginning of time, society has debated gender equality. Throughout history, there are several examples of women encountering obstacles to equity in their relationships, employment, education, and sporting opportunities. This essay will look at the history of gender equity in sports, the measures that have been taken to ensure that women have equal opportunity in the sport, the current problems that women face in today’s sports, and the research on gender equity in sports. It will then discuss the findings and offer suggestions for further research in this area.
Sporting activities provide girls with benefits beyond enjoyment and fitness. Girls who participate in sports improve their commitment, respect for others, ability to relax, focus under pressure, set and achieve goals, ability to accept failure and mistakes, and ability to be kind winners. While there are many reasons that girls should play sports, here are the 5 that are more significant:-
– Better academic performance
– Finer psychological health
– Improved physical health
– Better social life
– Capability to deal with tensions.
These women have disproved prejudices and broken down boundaries. They established themselves in a variety of sports, including badminton, tennis, cricket, and boxing. Their successes serve as evidence of their dedication to athletics:-
– Vinesh Phogat
– Mithali Raj
– Mirabai Chanu
– Jhulan Goswami
– Karnam Malleswari
– P.T. Usha
– Mary Kom
– Saina Nehwal
– Sania Mirza
– P.V. Sindhu
One area where gender inequality is very obvious is sports. It is regrettable that women still receive such disparate treatment, especially in sports. In India, women are still viewed as automatons for caring for the home and raising kids. Although certain cities have seen an increase in the number of women starting their own businesses, sports participation is still low. Social, psychological, financial, and family issues are the main problems. There is nothing new about coaches harassing women:-
– Despite recent advancements, discrimination against female athletes based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity still exists.
– In sports, girls may encounter bullying, social exclusion, unfavourable performance reviews, or losing their starting position.
– The dread of being labelled “gay” is great enough to drive many girls out of the game during socially precarious adolescence.
Indian sprinter Kamaljeet Sandhu, born on August 20, 1948, won the gold medal in the 400-meter race at the 1970 Asian Games in Bangkok. She completed the course in 57.3 seconds. Kamaljeet Sandhu is the first female athlete from India to take home an individual gold medal from the Asian Games. She is an Indian native of Punjab state. In 1971, she was given the Padma Shri award. She finished in the top three of the 400 metre race at the World University Games in Turin, Italy, in 1971. At the 1972 Munich Olympics, she competed in the Women’s 400 metre, but she was eliminated in the preliminary rounds. In 1973, Kamaljeet gave up competing in sports. She also played intercollegiate hockey and basketball at the national level.
In India, the year 1952 marked a turning point for women’s sports. Mary Dsouza competed in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, the first time India fielded female athletes in the four-yearly competition. At the first Asian Games in 1951 in New Delhi, she took home bronze in the 200-meter race and silver in the 4×100-meter relay. While 1984 will go down in history as the year that Indian women’s athletes made their Olympic debut, 1952 also cemented the place of women’s sports heroes in the nation thanks to the extraordinary achievements of four athletes in particular.