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Verve People
August 18, 2016

Indian Women Athletes Shine At The Rio Olympics 2016

Text by Sadaf Shaikh

PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar and Aditi Ashok are paving the way for others of their ilk with their success stories….

Anyone who has been a sportsperson knows the terrifying feeling that renders you motionless when you realise your opponent is leading by a margin that is far too great. It takes a top-notch athlete to come back from that blinding abyss and emerge victorious. It also takes a great deal of discipline to remain grounded when you’re leading by 11 points and are certain of a breezy victory. Both Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu demonstrated these laudable qualities and we couldn’t have been prouder of them for getting us the long-coveted medals that all of India has been waiting with bated breath for.

23-year-old Malik had her moment in the sun when she defeated her formidable opponent in the Women’s Freestyle 58 kg Wrestling, clinching the bronze for India. The country is now gunning for badminton finalist, PV Sindhu, with hashtags like #GoForGold trending across social networking platforms and fervent wishes being posted on her Facebook and Twitter accounts. Indian golfer, Aditi Ashok, currently at 8th position and within striking distance of another medal for India, has emerged as the dark horse in a sport dominated by men.

With over 50 female athletes making it to the largest contingent that India has sent to the Olympics, 2016 has been a proud year for the country. Dipa Karmakar — India’s first female gymnast to compete in the Olympics in 52 years — only hammers home the fact that Indian sportswomen have arrived and are here to stay. It is worth noting that most of them have had to grapple with their share of trials to get to where they are today. Karmakar, for example, had flat feet, which was considered an undesirable physical trait in a gymnast because it affected their performance. She spent countless gruelling hours training with her coach, to successfully develop an arch in her foot. PV Sindhu travelled an exhausting distance of 56 kms to her training camp daily. Malik too, admitted to having a tough time when she decided to take up wrestling. Neighbours would drop by unannounced to warn her parents that their girl would develop ‘cauliflower ears’, a phenomenon that affects wrestlers. Understandably, it was a tough situation for Malik who couldn’t understand why nobody shared her enthusiasm for the achievement.

It’s not like any of these hurdles stopped them. Karmakar, Malik, Ashok and Sindhu have gone on to win the heart of a country whose sports idols continue to be men. These athletes – resilient in performance, fierce in triumph and graceful in defeat are inspirational in every way. Owing to their accomplishments, sports won’t seem like a dubious career option for women in the future because hopefully now, they will have the backing of confident sponsors and the support of an entire country behind them.

Here is the moment that made our hearts flow with unbridled patriotism when Sakshi Malik wrapped the Indian flag around herself and broke down into joyous tears and PV Sindhu pumped a triumphant fist into the air after delivering her winning shot.

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