With 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze medals, India bagged the most number of medals it has ever won at the Asian Games. 2018 has been quite a year for sports in India, especially with respect to female representation and achievements across sports.
Despite cinematic representations like Dangal and Mary Kom, Indian women athletes still don’t receive the due credit they deserve. Without disregarding the attention the likes of Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Phogat sisters have garnered, there still are hordes of sportswomen who’ve contributed a lot towards putting India on the map. Scroll down to familiarise yourself with these iconic women (in no particular order) who have made the country proud this year.
I. Rahi Sarnobat
Rahi Sarnobat created history when she became the first Indian female shooter to win gold at the 2018 Asian Games. However, her list of achievements isn’t limited to just this win, this 27-year-old has two golds from the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games, and a bronze from the 2014 Asian Games to her name. Based out of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, Sarnobat is also the first Indian woman to bag a gold at the World Cup.
As awe-inspiring as Sarnobat’s journey sounds, all these wins didn’t come to her easily. In 2016, Sarnobat battled a major elbow injury, but sprung right back in 2018 when she brought home a gold.
II. Ekta Bhyan
Ekta Bhyan clinched gold in the women’s club throw event at the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta. She also bagged a gold in the Indian Open Para Athletics Championship earlier this year. Bhyan decided to take up sports after an accident and was coached by Amit Saroha in club and discus throw. She has also represented India at the 2017 IPC Para Athletics World Championships and currently works as an employment officer with the Haryana Government.
III. Swapna Barman
For those of you who don’t know, heptathlon is a track and field event, and as the name suggests, is made up of seven different events. Swapna Barman, an Indian athlete from Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, is India’s most recent point of reference to this lesser known sport. Barman’s journey to bagging a gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games hasn’t been one without its fair share of trials.
An athlete at the very basic level is characterized by having the ‘perfect’ physical form. Barman broke these notions by not letting the one extra digit she has on each foot to ever act as a handicap. What did however pose a threat were financial constraints. Despite struggling to get adequate funding, Barman has now established herself as on of the country’s leading athletes. Her other achievements include winning gold medals at the 2017 Asian Championship and 2017 Federation Cup.
IV. Dutee Chand
Current national champion in the women’s 100 metres, Dutee Chand is a sprinter from Odisha. She is also the third Indian woman to ever qualify for the 100 meters event in the Summer Olympics. Sprinting goes become a challenge for Chand owing to a condition known as hyperandrogenism, but it has never come in the way of her achieving what she puts her mind to. In 2018, Chand won a silver meal in women’s 100 metres at the Jakarta Asian Games. This was India’s first medal in 20 years at this event.
V. Deepika Kumari
Deepika Kumari is currently ranked World No. 5 in her sport. She has also formerly held World No. 1 title, won a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and qualified for the 2010 Summer Olympics. Kumari, who is from Ratu Chati village near Ranchi, suppossedly practised archery while aiming for mangoes with stones when she was a young girl. Also, due to budget constraints, she would use bows and arrows made at home with bamboos. It is probably her resourceful nature that helps her become a leading sportswoman. Kumari was awarded the second most prestigious sports award - Arjuna Award - in 2012 followed by the Padma Shri in 2016.
VI. Dipa Karmakar
This young gymnast is known for her concentration an unparalleled precision. Karmakar secured 4th position in women’s vault gymnastics at 2016 Rio Olympics, where she garnered a lot os attention for successfully landing the Produnova, which is said to be the most difficult vault in women’s gymnastics. Karmakar has since then informally become the face of Indian gymnastics.
VII. Women’s Relay Team
India won a Gold Medal in Women’s 4 x 400 m relay race at Asian Games 2018. The women’s team comprised of M. R. Poovamma, Saritaben Gaikwad, Hima Das, and VK Vismaya, all of whom apart from excellent teamwork also gave exceptional individual performances.
VIII. Women’s Cricket Team
2018 has been an interesting year for the Indian Women’s Cricket Team. The team represented India in the Asia Cup finals an also reached the semi finals of the Women’s World T20, where they managed to win all their group matches and in the process garnered immense appreciation.
IX. Sneha Sharma And Mira Erda
Sharma and Erda created history when they were among the 55 drivers from 25 countries who got shortlisted undergo evaluation in order to participate in the prestigious W Series in 2019. W Series is the first ever single-seater racing championship for women. It aims to encourage greater female participation in motorsport.
X. Asha Gond
18-year-old Asha along with 15-year-old Arun Adivasi was chosen to represent India at the World Skate Park World Championship in China. Both Asha an Arun are from Janwaar village in Madhya Pradesh an is famous for being home to Janwaar Castle, which is rural India’s first skate-park for children. Gond at a very young age has opened doors for aspiring skateboarders across the country and along with Adivasi has put India on the map in terms of skateboarding, a sport that until very recently did not get the kind of attention it deserved.
If you liked this article, we suggest you read: