There are more people on my Facebook dissing 2016 than there are, dissing Justin Bieber. And that you guys, is saying something. I mean we lost some of the greatest people, witnessed some of the most terrible stints of Terrorism (Orlando, Paris and Syria) and the most sensationalising of all – suffered a slow death in the ATM queues due to the consequences of demonetisation.
But there’s one strata of society for whom 2016 emerged as a year of victory and change. And, that is for our female sportspersons.
They constituted for about 45% of the India’s Olympic delegation this year, an 18% increase from the last Olympics. They earned us the only two medals India won at the Olympics this year and set a series of records while taking the world with a storm.
Here are a few instances where Indian sportswomen made the country ever so proud:
- When Indian shuttler PV Sindhu gave a ferociously hard time to the World No. 1 Carolina Marin in the final of women’s singles at the 2016 Olympic Games bringing home an elusive silver, the first ever by an Indian sportswomen in Badminton.
- When wrestler Sakshi Malik not only earned India its first medal at the 2016 Olympics but also ended the country’s 68 years long thirst of a medal by a woman in the sport.
- When gymnast Dipa Karmakar fearlessly and successfully landed the Produnova vault in 2016 Olympics and became the fifth women in the world to ever to do that.
- When Dipa also became the first ever Indian female gymnast to compete at the Olympics, first ever Indian gymnast to enter the Olympics since 1964, first ever Indian female gymnast to qualify for the World Championships, first ever Indian gymnast to enter an event final at the Olympics and the list goes on.
- When athlete Lalita Babar stood 10th in the 3000m steeplechase at the 2016 Olympics and ran spectacularly with the reigning Asian champion title.
- When wrestler Vinesh Phogat gave Romania’s Emilia Alina Vuc a tasteful defeat to enter the round of 8 at the 2016 Olympics but succumbed to a painful knee injury while valiantly competing with China’s Sun Yanan.
- When archer Bombayla Devi Laishram showed her expertise and experience in the sport by hitting several bulls-eye to win the round of 64 and the round of 32 but unfortunately lost in round of 16 against Alejandra Valencia of Mexico.
- When athlete Deepa Malik clinched silver at 2016 Paralympics becoming the first female para-athlete in India to do so.
- When cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur and our women’s cricket team earned its sixth T20 Asia Cup title after defeating Pakistan in a saucy final. She also is the first Indian cricketer to play in a foreign Twenty20 cricket tournament.
- When Indian golfer Aditi Ashok made history by becoming the first female Indian to win a European title and the first and only Indian golfer to have competed in the Asian Youth Games (2013), Youth Olympic Games (2014), Asian Games (2014) and Rio Olympics (2016).
- When swimmer Shivani Kataria became the first ever Indian sportswomen to compete in the sport at the Olympics after the 2004 Olympic Games.
- When our national women’s hockey team won the female hockey tournament at the South Asian Games and qualified for the 2016 Olympics after 36 long years.
Well, these are just a few and there are a lot more. Needless to say, 2016 turned out to be a game changer for sports lovers in the country as they surely didn’t see this coming. I mean only two medals at the Olympics and both of them by women? Who would’ve thought!
The country showered endless love in support of the athletes and for their never-ending determined spirits, and promising achievements that graced the nation, one after the other.
We hope that sport authorities around the country are observing this change and are being supportive as well as serving the best environment and care to our precious athletes and are not leaving any page unturned in metamorphosing them into the best version of themselves.
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Imagery credits: Google Images
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.