Following hockey Captain Ritu Rani’s exit from Olympic squad, the next question that begged an answer was who would be leading the team to the Games. After many round of meetings, the name that has been zeroed in on is Madhya Pradesh women hockey academy’s Sushila Chanu. The announcement was made on Tuesday, and is no doubt great news for the state, where the Hockey Academy was set up almost a decade ago. Preeti Dubey is another player from same state who booked her place in the team.
While Sushila joined the academy when it was launched in 2007 in Gwalior, Preeti has also been training there since the last five years. The players from the academy were also part of bronze winning World Cup team.
Sports minister Yashodhara said all these players have been regular members of Indian hockey team for the last two years. Also last year, Sushila Chanu became the captain of the team that participated various international tournaments.
In addition to this good news, four women hockey players from Odisha – Defenders Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Sunita Lakra and midfielder Lilima Minz have also been selected in the Indian squad and will represent the national team in the Olympics starting from August 5.
In unexpected move right before the final squad for the Olympics is to be announced, Captain of the Indian women’s national team, Ritu Rani has been dropped from the side. News of this development came in on Sunday, and Ritu has since left the ongoing training camp in Bengaluru and returned to Shahabad, her native village in Haryana. This has been confirmed by the Hockey India management.
The actual reason is not clear thus far but sources say that the 24-year-old Haryana player has been dropped from the team since her performance levels were dipping. “It’s correct that Ritu is not in the Olympic team. Her exclusion is solely on two counts -her (poor) performance and her attitude. It was explained to her time and again that she needed to lift her performance but she couldn’t do so. The camp is still going on in Bangalore. Ritu left the camp on Thursday,” A member of the coaching staff said TOI.
However, Ritu’s parents believe that the ongoing politics and rampant partialism in the team are responsible for this sudden incident. “In March, she was awarded Ajit Pal Singh Midfielder Award by Hockey India. She also went to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few days back. Her name was recommended for Arjuna Award. Now all of a sudden this news is very strange and fishy”, said her parents.
It was under Rani’s leadership and strong guidance that the Indian women’s hockey teamqualified for the Olympic Games this year after a long gap of 36 years. She has also been a key player in the squad for more than a decade, playing in the midfield position. Rani recently got engaged to Patiala-based Punjabi singer Harsh Sharma who is the son of SAI coach and former hockey player Poonam Bala Sharma. Although Rani had announced that she would get married only after the Rio Olympics, it is being speculated that national team chief coach Neil Hawgood was disappointed that Ritu gave priority to her engagement ceremony over the camp, especially since her fitness levels weren’t top notch. Finding it very unprofessional, when Ritu came back to the camp post her engagement, she was told to go back.
Women’s football is unfortunately not as widely popular as men’s. Even the Internet thinks so! There seems to be insufficient information, articles, and coverage when it comes to women in football. So, in the light of Euro2016 we at SheThePeople.TV wanted to celebrate some of these kickass women footballers of this generation.
Just last month it was announced that FIFA 16, the PlayStation game, would include women’s teams also! All the more reason for Class 101!
Christine Sinclair – Canada
Picture Credit: vancitybuzz.com
She is arguably the best football player amongst the women. She has scored 148 goals (source: sporteology.com) and is regarded as Canada’s all-time goal scorer. Her game is fierce and attacking. She is the captain of the Canadian national team and led them to an Olympic bronze in 2012. Watch her play and you’ll be amazed by her game!
Lotta Schelin – Sweden
Picture Credit: twitter.com
She’s compared with her fellow Sweden footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, (who’s joined Manchester United now by the way) for her offensive techniques. Even if you don’t know much about women’s football, this is one name you ought to remember. She’s one heck of a goal scorer!
The child of England, she plays for both Manchester City Club and England’s National Women’s Football team. Being the captain for her team, she deals with some pressure, but that doesn’t affect her game at all. The team is now preparing for Euro 2017 and she believes their game is strong. Go team England!
First Indian footballer to play in UK’s West Ham club, she is making India proud! Earlier this year there was a petition doing the rounds on the Internet to approve her visa so she could continue to play with the club. She’s an inspiration to many women in the country who wish to pursue a career in sports. She plays as a goalkeeper and has represented India internationally for many tournaments.
Brazilians have been known to produce some great footballers from time to time, and it holds true with Marta as well. She plays as a forward for the national team of Brazil and is known to be “freakishly good”. Watch out for her at the Rio Olympic Games this year, you won’t be disappointed!
India’s top squash player and current national champion Joshna Chinappa secured a career high 10th position in the latest PSA world rankings on Friday, the highest she has ever reached in her squash career. With this, Joshna has become the second Indian woman to break into the top 10 after Dipika Pallikal who did so in December 2012. Dipika is currently ranked 19th.
“It was one of my goals since the beginning. But there’s still a long way to go. I’m happy to have broken into the top 10. It’s hasn’t been an easy journey” This is what Joshna Chinappa told New Indian Express.
Chinappa has been performing consistently over the last six months. She had first put up a good show in the HKFC International tournament in Hong Kong in the month of May reaching her biggest ever final. Following which in the same month, she had a fine battle in the Asian championship in Chinese-Taipei. Then she was runner-up in Hong Kong losing to top-seeded Joelle King of New Zealand but not before ousting the second-seeded Annie Au of Hong Kong in the semi-final. Before making it to the 10th position, Joshna was suffering from a career-threatening ACL injury but she has managed to overcome that through sheer will and determination.
Distance runner L Suriya bagged gold in the women’s 10000m race at the 56th National Inter-State Athletics Championships in Balayogi Stadium in Hyderabad on Wednesday. The race also served as the qualifiers for the Rio Olympics that is going to be held in August this year, and though Suriya clinched the gold she could not reserve a berth in Olympics. She fell short of the qualifying mark in the opening day.
25-year-old athlete from Tamil Nadu, Suriya took top position in the 10,000mt race by finishing it in 33 minutes 27.01 secs. She was succeeded by training partner Swati Gadhave from Maharashtra who finished the race in 3minutes 45.40 seconds and third came Sanjivani Jadhav, again from Maharashtra by finishing the race in 33:54.77.
In the Women’s long jump, V Neena from Kerela was to defend her top position which she retained by taking a big leap of 6.45m and won the gold medal. Previously, in the last edition of the championship that was held in Chennai, Neena won by clearing 6.39m and clinched gold medal from pre-event favourite and teammate M A Prajusha (6.29m). The two were followed by Shraddha Ghule from Maharashtra who came third just like in the Delhi Federation Cup with a score of 5. 98m and earned herself a bronze medal.
Neena did not just win at the first day of championship but also improved on her past score. However, she too could not make a cut for the Rio Olympics. “I am happy with my performance although I could not accomplish my plan of qualifying for the Rio Games,” said Neena after the competition, as reported by Business Standard.
Being denied a wildcard entry by the International Olympic Committee may have ended Mary Kom’s Rio dream, but the five-time world champion is by no means ready to hang up her gloves yet. Even as questions about her retirement are being raised, Kom has laid all doubts to rest by this statement:
I am not quitting the sport right now
There is no doubt that Kom has been one of India’s finest athletes and just to remind ourselves of that, here are the boxer’s top six 6 International Moments:
First accolade in her Maiden tournament:
Mary Kom wins silver in her debut tournament (Picture Credit: sportskeeda.com)
As an 18 year old, Kom made her mark in her very first tournament, winning a silver medal in the 46 Kg category at Pennsylvania, USA in 2001. What’s more, she went on to win a gold at the second AIBA World Women’s Senior Boxing championship in Turkey the next year.
Mary Kom’s First World Championship Gold Medal
Five-time Boxing World Champion – MC Mary Kom (Picture Credit: sportskeeda.com)
The fighter that she is, Kom then made sure she stepped right to the top of the podium in the 45 Kg category in the 2002 Antalya World Amateur Boxing Championships. She clinched her first Gold medal in her career and went on to pocket many more, including five in the World Championships.
Earns the title”Magnificent Mary”
“Magnificent” Mary Kom (Picture Credit: aneelanike.blogspot.com)
Her outstanding performances in the International Amateur Boxing Association in 2007 brought her into the limelight and she earned the nickname ‘Magnificent Mary’ after she won the 2008 Ningbo City World Championships.
Asian Women’s boxing Championships, Guwahati, 2008
Delivering the knockout punch: Mary Kom (Picture Credit: sportskeeda)
This one requires a special mention – a memorable win for Mary as she had returned to the ring after eight years. She had to be satisfied with a silver medal in the pinweight category, but it was a great return for the champion.
2012 Summer Olympics
Mary Kom wins bronze at the 2012 Summer Olympics (Picture Credit: urbanasian.com)
She was the only Indian boxer to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. And she didn’t disappoint, winning the bronze medal in the flyweight (51 Kg) category.
Throwing her punches: Mary Kom (Picture Credit: sportskeeda)
Kom had won a bronze in the 2010 Asian Games which were held in Guangzhou. Her quest for an Asian Games Gold finally ended in 2014, with her winning top spot at the Games in Incheon, South Korea.
It is noteworthy that even after all the success, her hunger for achievement hasn’t diminished. Also worth mentioning is the fact that she runs the MC Mary Kom boxing academy in Manipur, a female-only fight club in Imphal to teach girls defend themselves against sexual violence. A true champion she definitely is!
She did the country proud by winning a bronze at the 2012 Summer Olympic games in London, but Mary Kom’s Rio Olympic dream will remain unfulfilled as news came in that the boxer has been denied a wildcard entry by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The confirmation directly came from the Chairman of AIBA ad-hoc committee Kishan Narsi on Thursday. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the ad-hoc committee administering boxing in the country were officially trying for a wildcard entry for the five-time world champion, but failed to make the cut for her.
“I have been duly informed that I won’t be getting a wildcard for the Olympics. It is heartbreaking but it is something which I had no control over. I have to accept this decision but I am not quitting the sport right now. I will continue to compete till I am feeling fit and I think I am fit,” Mary Kom told PTI, reported by The Hindu.
Mary Kom had two chances to make it to Rio - the Asian Zone Qualifiers held in March, where she lost in the semi-finals and then last month at World Championships, which was the last qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games, where she exited in the second round. Post that defeat, the ad-hoc committee, headed by Kishen Narsi, had written to AIBA requesting for what is officially called a Tripartite Commission Invitation Place. Now with the IOC having denied this request, this will no doubt be a huge disappointment for her as well as her fans.
Close on the heels of breaking into the top ten in the classical rankings list, Grand Master Harika Dronavalli has put another achievement next to her name by winning the best women’s player award in the Eurasian Blitz chess tournament in Kazakhstan. Last week the chess player had moved up to number 9 in the rankings thanks to being declared the best woman player at the Zalakaros International Chess Festival in Hungary
Dronavalli took home a cash prize of $2500 and 60 ELO points for her performance in the Kazakhstan tournament. “I am really delighted to win these two awards back to back,” an elated Harika stated, reported by TOI.
The Blitz tournament wasn’t an easy one for the 25-year-old as she was competing with some elite field champions, which included world number one Hou Yifan of China. Tied with Yifan with 12.5 points at the end of the tournament, she managed to win the tie-breaker and emerge victorious. Another key player she beat was Russia’s GM Boris Savchenko who is rated 2706 in the Blitz chess.
Currently at the top of the Hero Order of Merit in the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour, Neha Tripathi’s desire now is to improve on her world rankings. From playing golf as a hobby, to making a mark on the professional golf circuit, this 25 year-old golfer from Kolkata has come a long way.In a chat with SheThePeople.TV, Neha talks about her passion for the sport and the challenges of being a woman golfer in India.
The beginning: An instant liking to the game
I tried my hand at golf at age 11 in Lansdowne, a hill station in Uttarakhand. I have always loved playing sports but did not think about taking it up as a profession at that age.
My father used to play golf three times a week and one day I decided to tag along with him. I liked the game instantly! I was left at the practice range with 50 golf balls and was instructed to hit them. My hand-eye coordination has been fairly good and I enjoyed my first practice session tremendously. The idea of standing at one place and striking the ball at different directions instantaneously caught my attention.
Later that year, my father was posted to Meerut where I was regular with the sport. It was more of a hobby back then, till I turned 16 and we shifted our base to Kolkata. It was only in Kolkata, that I started playing tournaments of the IGU, both Amateur and Juniors. While I was playing the tour, it was only then that I decided to make a career in Golf.
A hobby that became a passion: Neha Tripathi and golf
If you’re not disciplined, you’re wasting your talent
My decision to take up golf professionally in 2010 was the turning point in my career. This event took place after I missed securing a position in the Golf Team sent for the Asian Games, in Guangzhou. So I worked harder to get better at the sport.
Golf is a challenging and unique sport
I love the sport. Every aspect of the game is unique compared to other sports I have played, from practicing at the range to playing tournaments in different courses around the world. It is said that no two shots of a golfer can ever be identical. The same course plays differently based on pin positions, the water on the grass and even the weather! All these things make the life of a golfer very challenging and exciting!
Lack of support from the corporate world in the form of sponsorship is what makes it difficult for most of the players. The focus shifts from playing well to cutting costs during events to save money. Also through the event the player is thinking of making the cut to be able to break even for the week, adding more pressure on themselves thus not performing to their potential.
Making her mark in the professional circuit: Neha Tripathi
Work hard because there’s no substitute for it
Three must-have qualities for a sportsperson
Firstly – Discipline. If you’re not disciplined, you’re wasting your talent. Secondly – Hard work. Discipline and hard work works together in making you a champion. Also I strongly believe in the line – the harder you work the luckier you get. Thirdly – Patience. You have to be patient about the results, you can’t get worked up and think about the outcome. If you work hard, you’ll ripe the benefit of it.
The biggest influence
The biggest influence in my life – my father. He has put in twice the amount of work that I have, and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I have today.
What needs to be done in immediate future is to increase the number of events, make golfing facilities open to the masses and increase the prize money. The involvement of PSu’s more actively in supporting the game will go a long way.
A word of advice
Work hard because there’s no substitute for it. That is your ticket to being successful. At the same time, don’t beat yourself up when you don’t see the result. Have fun, live your life but stay focussed.
Top squash player Dipika Pallikal is all set to compete in the Senior National Championship this July. This, after the player had boycotted the tournament in 2011, after winning the title and demanding equal prize money for men’s and women’s categories. “I look forward to playing the nationals again. My stand (for equal prize money) was not just about me but for the entire women’s squash fraternity. Nowadays, you have more and more international events offering equal prize money. So, it is good that the national federation (SRFI) too has decided to have equal prize money,” Pallikal was quoted by PTI, reports DNA..
After 5 years of her unwavering stand on the issue, the organisers have finally given in and decided to equal the prize money, putting men and women on a equal footing for the premier domestic tournament. Niraj Shirgaokar, the championship director, confirmed that the Nationals will have equal prize money of 1.25 lakhs, both in the men’s and women’s category.
Equal pay in sports remains an evolving topic, as it is not just confined to squash; women are paid significantly less than men across the board in sports. In the tennis circuit too the debate has been raging, where there are some like top ranked player Novak Djokovic, who argue that since men’s matches have many more spectators than women, it is only fair that they be rewarded more. While, in the same context, Serena Williams pointed out that last year the women’s final at the US Open sold out well before the men. Although the Professional Squash Association (PSA) has made a conscious effort to keep this demand in mind and even had equal prize money of $160,000 for both men and women at the World Series Final in Dubai.
Pallikal is delighted by the decision of the organisers and will be seen competing in the Senior National Championship for the first time in 5 years. Her long time teammate Joshna Chinappa, who is currently India highest ranked player at 11, will also be competing for the same title. A match between then will surely be worth watching!