The Indian hockey women’s team may have performed miserably in their five-match series against England, but there is a silver lining here. Recognising the hard work and dedication of captain Ritu Rani, on Wednesday she was recommended by Hockey India for the Arjuna Award, which recognises outstanding achievement in sports. So was senior’s men’s team drag-flicker VR Raghunath.
“VR Raghunath, Dharamvir Singh and Ritu Rani have been recommended for the Arjuna Award while Sylvanus Dung Dung has been recommended for the Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award and veteran Coach CR Kumar recommended for the Dronacharya Award,” Hockey India said in a statement, reported by Firstpost.
With over 10 years experience in the game Rani has been one of the most successful players in the team, and is known for her leadership qualities. She will also be leading the hockey team in their efforts at the Olympic games in Rio later this year. Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India said, “With their passion and dedication for the sport, these players who have been recommended have done India proud by earning several accolades internationally. I truly believe they deserve every recognition and appreciation for the efforts they have put in making the nation shine in various tournaments,”
Hailing from Haryana, Rani made her debut in the senior team in 2006, at the Asian Games in Doha and was appointed the captain of the team in 2011. The team then became the first Indian women’s hockey Olympic qualifiers ever for the 2016 Summer Olympics since the 1980 Summer Olympics participation under her captaincy.
Close on the heels of setting a national record at the Federation Cup National Athletics Championships last month, sprinter Dutee Chand has added another feather in her cap. The sprinting sensation coming from humble origins in Orissa clinched the gold in Women’s 100m dash, clocking a fast time of 11.37 seconds at the Indian Grand Prix athletics series in Patiala on Friday. Chand comfortably beat H M Jyothi, who clocked a time of 11.57 seconds, and Srabani Nanda, who made it to the finish line in 11.60 seconds, to achieve this feat. Dutee’s national record earlier at the Federation Cup in New Delhi was also a triumphant moment, but she missed the Rio Olympics Qualification mark by a whisker, finishing at 11.33 seconds where the cut off was 11.32 seconds.
Apart from Chand’s record, other aces like ONGC runner M R Poovamma also defeated her competitor, Kerala’s Anilda Thomas, clocking 52.67 secs in the 400 metres, while in javelin throw, Annu Rani (56.77m) once again defeated her Uttar Pradesh teammate Suman Devi (56.61m).
Discuss thrower Krishna Poonia, who won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, managed 56.02m to win the gold. Poonia is looking to qualify for Rio Olympics.
For those who might recall, Dutee Chand had been banned for a considerable amount of time from competing in events, after a controversial hormone test which revealed excessive amounts of androgens( a condition known as hyperandrogenism), over the permissible levels authorised. The ruling has been overturned since, and Chand has gone from strength to strength, not only competing, but winning many events.
India has had reason to be proud in archery with Deepika Kumari having reigned as number and in constant pursuit of new benchmarks. We have a history to reckon with. If you look out in our mythological stories such as Ramayana and Mahabharata, you’ll find almost everyone there effortlessly being an archer and aiming for the goal. It’s that legacy this sport carries forward in modern India. And women have been at the lead of this journey.
Let’s check out 5 top Indian women in archery:
Deepika Kumari: Indian female sportswomen, archer Deepika Kumari is currently ranked number seven and a former world number one. 21 year old Kumari got her first breakthrough back in 2005, admitted at the Arjun Archery Academy, and then in 2006 she decided to join the Tata Archery Academy in Jamshedpur. The institute trained her in the best way and Kumari announced herself to the world, after winning the Junior Compound World Cup.
India’s Olympic hope, Kumari’s outstanding performance had gave her at the Archery World Cups, winning three consecutive silver medals. The archer was honored with the Arjuna Award – India’s second highest sporting award, in 2012. The Government of India also crowned her with the country’s civilian honor, Padma Shri in 2016.
Dola Banerjee: Indian Archer, Dola Banerjee is considered to be one of the best female Archers India has as she is been credited the honor of being the first female Archer who has been bestowed upon the Arjuna Award. Even she is the first Indian woman archer to qualify for the Olympics.
Dola Bannerjee on SheThePeople
Hails from West Bengal, Dola won her first National Championship title in Archery in the year. She began playing at the International level at the age of 17 years when she participated at Longkwie Asian Championship 1997. She further played at the Beijing Asian Championship 1999, Hong Kong Asian Championship 2001, Yangon (Myanmar) Asian Championship 2003 and New Delhi Asian Championship 2005 where the Indian team grabbed a Bronze Medal.
Dola created a history of sorts in the year 2005 when she won the Gold Medal at European Grand Prix Archery tournament and the Golden Arrow Grand Prix Archery tournament, Antalya, Turkey in the same year. Apart from it, she also won the Gold Medal at the Colombo SAF Games 2006.
Bombayla Devi Laishram: Hailing from Manipur, this Indian archer started playing archery in 1996 and became the member of the Indian team a decade after in 2006. Her moment of pride came when she won gold at the recurve team event in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Bombayla, started the game of archery at a very tender age since she belongs to family of sports lovers in Imphal. Her mother M Jamini Devi, a state archery coach, introduced her to the sport while her father Manglem Singh is a handball coach.
Bombayla Devi Laishram
She represented India at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the women’s individual as well as team events and representing India at the Olympics for the second time in a row. She became the first women to qualify for the Beijing Olympics after a brilliant performance at the 2007 World Archery Championship at Leipzig in Germany.
The Indian women’s recurve archery team of L Bombayla Devi, Deepika Kumari and Chekrovolu Swuro earned three quota places for the London Games when they won a silver medal at the 46th World Archery Championship in Turin, Italy in July 2011.
Chekrovolu Swuro: Hailing from a small village of Nagaland, this Indian archer represented India in archery in the 2002 Asian Games and 2006 Asian Games held at different parts of the world.
She serves as an Assistant Sub-Inspector in the Nagaland Police. Her elder sister, Vesuzolu S.Vadeo, was a former national archer. She has been competing at the international level for more than a decade, during which she has won many medals. She also represented India at the 2012 London Olympic Games, and she is the second Naga athlete to participate in the Olympics after a gap of 64 years
Leaving a message for the youths of Nagaland, she was crowned Arjuna award in 2013.
Laxmi Rani Majhi: A schoolgirl got a chance to be selected to train as an archer. Now she competes in international level competitions for India. When Laxmi was young, her family knew the most important thing was for Laxmi to go to school; many girls in Laxmi’s village did not go to school.
Laxmi Rani Majhi on SheThePeople
Now, while completing her education, Laxmi has won so many archery competitions and has been awarded the position of a cadet by the Tata Sports Academy, in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand.
Laxmi’s first chance to become an archer was offered to her when the selectors for the archery academy visited her Government School. Grew up in Bagula village, Jharkhand, she is a recurve archer. She competed in the individual recurve event and the team recurve event where she won the silver medal at the 2015 World Archery Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.
An 18-year-old opener Hayley Matthews hit a stunning 66 off 45 balls with three sixes
Hayley Kristen Matthews (born 19 March 1998) is a Barbadian sportswoman and has been playing international cricket for the West Indies as an all-rounder. Matthews made her debut for the Barbadian cricket team at the age of 12! More power to this woman.
After the recent tennis controversy where Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore had to step down after his sexist comment that women’s tennis had been riding on the ‘cottails’ of men’s tennis, comes news of another sports gender battle.
Five of the biggest stars on the world champion U.S. women’s national soccer team allegedly accused the U.S. Soccer Federation of pay discrimination on Wednesday. Their bone of contention? That they take home a paltry sum as compared to the men, sometimes as little as 40 percent. This despite the U.S. women’s team’s brilliant performance on the field, greater achievements (like last year the team’s third World Cup championship) and higher anticipated revenue. The case is submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination, and has sparked off the debate of gender discrimination. [Feature Image Courtesy: s.street.com]
The players – Captain Carli Lloyd, Goalkeeper Hope Solo, Midfielder Megan Rapinoe, Defender Becky Sauerbrunn and Striker Alex Morgan, who are protesting on behalf of their team are all prominent women athletes who have taken US women’s soccer to new heights. They claim that while men’s soccer team has historical wins, the women’s team has proved its worth. They have won world and Olympic championships and defeated Japan in the 2015 World Cup final last summer, a match which 26 million viewers in the US tuned into. On the other hand, the men’s team has never progressed past the World Cup quarterfinals since finishing third at the inaugural tournament in 1930.
We are on par with men: The US women’s soccer team
It has been argued that men’s sports and their players get a financial edge and support from every federation. But more and more women players are now raising their voices against the disparity of incomes, forcing sporting bodies into a discussion. Women’s sports are generating interest and attracting eyeballs which has gotten Corporates interested in them as well. So it follows logic that high-profile individual female sports like tennis, golf, figure skating, gymnastics, and track and field shrink the wage gap and put women on an equal footing with men.
So what will be the outcome of this battle? And what will be the next one? Watch this space.
It’s not just the boys in blue that create history on the cricket field anymore. In the midst of all the action and excitement of the Women’s WT20 championship and India’s massive win over Bangladesh, a star emerged in the Indian cricket team. Harmanpreet Kaur brought the Chinawamy alive as she smashed 40 runs off just 29 balls, in India’s emphatic 72 run victory. The 27 year old all rounder has been slowly and steadily coming out of the shadows of captain Mithali Raj, performing consistently in major tournaments ever since her one day debut in 2009.
Harmanpreet Kaur (Pic By Yespunjab)
It’s worth knowing a few home truths about this power packed performer:
Harmanpreet Kaur or Harry as she is also known, first represented India in the 2009 ICC World Cup in Australia.
Harry was obsessed with cricket from early childhood, and there was never a doubt in her mind that she wanted to represent India in this sport. What acted in her favor was the fact that her parents were supportive of her decision and provided her the necessary support for her to build her career.
Kaur’s father, Harmandar Singh Bhullar’s was a club cricketer himself and his passion and motivation egged her on in the pursuit of her dream.However, it was Kamaldish Singh Sodhi, owner of Moga’s premier cricket academy,who spotted her playing gully cricket and ended up taking care of her tuition fees, commute, cricket academy fees, shoes, and cricket kit.
Harmapreet initially started playing in Punjab Cricket Association camps as an all-round performer for the Ferozpur district team. Within two years she was in the running for Punjab’s senior team. However a lack of vacancy meant that she had to continue in the Under 19 team for another year. The team beat Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana which helped her gain entry into the North Zone team. A great performance in the Under 19 Challenger Trophy propelled her to the NCA facility in Bangalore where she trained with 29 other participants for a spot in India’s senior squad for the 2009 Women’s World Twenty20.
Her first major achievement came in the in the first T20I against Australia, at Adelaide in January 2016. A well crafted 46 helped India securing an early lead in the three-match series. Moreover she turned out to be the best bat for India in the series with 70 runs in two games.
She has so far has played total 55 ODI and 58 Twenty20 matches.
The Indian women’s cricket team is in great form on the back of memorable wins over Australia and T20 series. With the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2016 in full swing, it’s a perfect time to put the spotlight on how well these girls are doing, where they stand in the game and if they are finally beginning to get their share of the spotlight, even it means taking a little away from the men in blue. We catch up with Gaurav Kalra, sports journalist and senior editor at ESPNcricinfo who is batting for the women’s team.
What are your expectations from the Indian women’s cricket team for the ICC World Twenty20? What do you pick as the team’s strengths and weaknesses?
Gaurav Kalra: They have been playing really well this year. They won a series in Australia and T20 series earlier this year. And, that’s a big achievement because Australians have been world champions multiple times. They are the best team in the world. So, I think that performances away from home make all of us hopeful that a tournament at home with a success story behind…they’ll surely do well.
To be honest, the biggest strength of the team is some of the young players have shown great performance lately. Indian women’s cricket team was always identified with few players, like Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami who have been in the field for a while. But recently in some matches we’ve seen some younger girls doing quite well. Smriti Mandhana is one, also Harmanpreet Kaur. I think as a unit they have a lot more strength. And that is what going to be their biggest advantage as well. But they are not relying on individual grooming, so one or two players are there to win the matches.
Indian Women’s Cricket Team
Please brief us on what do you think about Mithali Raj’s form so far and how can India’s women’s cricket team can utilize her best qualities to win the ICC World Twenty20?
Mithali is one of the best batsman in the world. And, she is been around for a very long time on the circuit. She’s got a great record in all formats and she’s developed an excellent form recently after the win over Australia. They have really done well again against Sri Lanka and Mithali scored there. Because she’s now quite settled as a batsman and has a wonderful coach, Poornima Rao.
the biggest strength of the team is some of the young players have shown great performance lately
She also has the support of cricketer Jhulan Goswami, who has been captain before. Practically Mithali [Gaurav's interview with Mitali here] has emerged as an extremely strong leader and I think all these strengths will work in India’s favour. Although her experience is one of the main advantages that will be very useful.
This is an unique time for the women’s team as both the men’s and women’s T20 teams will be playing at the same time. Usually the women’s team doesn’t get the kind of attention the men’s team gets… Do you think that’s set to change in some way? What kind of coverage can the women’s team expect?
This is not a new thing. This has happened in the past as well. In the previous Twenty20, the men and women, both the teams had played together. In Australia this time when women team played just ahead of the men’s matches. I think this is a very good marketing strategy because it makes women’s team available to a bigger audience. People may be coming to the ground to watch men’s match, and with same encouragement they can actually watch women playing as well. It’s a very smart move.
This time Finals and semifinals of the tournament will be played at the same time. I think this a good move to encourage more audience to cheer women’s cricket. I think we have a good viewership. What they expect is to build a certain amount of curiosity and to get respect as players. They basically want to grow their talent and with a great movement like this, it’ll happen in the future.
Would you say that it’s the best women’s cricket team we have today?
It’s very difficult to quantify it like this because we must accept the fact that women’s cricket doesn’t get a lot of TV coverage and must understand that their gaming plot is not as good as the men’s team. But development is very clear from the result they have showed lately.
This time Finals and semifinals of the tournament will be played at the same time. I think this a good move to encourage more audience to cheer women’s cricket
The main point I want say here is if you look at women athletes in India, we have so many successful stories. We have Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, some of the shooters have done really well in SAG, women’s hockey team is being qualified for the Olympic Games. In terms of that, Indian women’s cricket team hasn’t quite had the same impact on our mindset. Performance concerns? That would be the cue. These women may become household names in India over the next couple of years and I think that’s going to be their real victory, just that if they could focus in the same manner like other successful players.
What can be done to engage more women into sport?
I think it’s an organic process which is already in progress. As I mentioned earlier, seeing performances of other women athletes like Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, shooter like Apurvi Chandela, and shooter in the past like Anjali Bhagwat, they have all done well. It creates a certain enthusiasm for the sport. I think if the girls go ahead and create history, create a bit of buzz about them, it will definitely influence other women and generate interest amongst them to get into sports.
One of the best thing to mention here is that The Indian women cricket players are in contract now. They are professional cricketers. So they have an assurance of income. This is very important because let’s face it, at the end of the day you need to earn enough for furthering your passion right, for potential sake. I feel it’s very positive step.
When I’ve recently spoken with Mithali, she said that the girls are much more assured and confident now because they seem to see a future lying ahead. When there’s an assurance, we expect more girls to be playing in the next few years, more tournaments should get organised for them and most importantly they should be feeling that we girls are given an opportunity to play like professionals. They should be allowed to play Asian games which they’re not allowed now. So that they can develop their ranks higher.
Great news for women in sport. Indian long-distance runner Kavita Raut booked her spot for the Rio Olympics in women’s marathon after winning the event in the 12th South Asian Games, a perfect end to the country’s memorable athletics campaign in the event on Friday.
Raut, 30 clinched the marathon gold in 2 hours 38 minutes and 38 seconds to become the fourth Indian women to have qualified for Rio Games women’s marathon. The Rio Games women’s marathon qualification standard stands at 2:42:00.
Raut hails from Nashik, Maharashtra and is the lone athlete to have qualified for the Olympics from the 12th SAG.
The 12th South Asian Games saw remarkable domination by the Indian women’s shooting team on the opening day of competitions in Guwahati on Wednesday. An easy notch by the Rio Olympics bound Apurvi Chandela added six medals, including three gold on the winning list.
Chandela was expected to trigger the gold medal for India and it went pretty much that way with athlete’s contributing perfectly in her favourite event of women’s 10m air rifle with a total score of 209.00 points. Whereas, compatriots Elizabeth Susan Koshy and Pooja Ghatkar had the silver and bronze with that Indian markswomen swept the medals at the Kahilipara Shooting Range.
However, in men’s department, India failed to amuse as Om Prakash shot 187.3 points in men’s 50m pistol event, grabbing a silver only. Olympic-bound Prakash Nanjappa finished outside podium at fourth and following which Bangladesh’s ace Sakil Ahmed with 187.6 points shot won the gold medal.
When later the day Prakash was caught by media he said, “I took part despite not being well. I have been feeling a burning sensation on my left eye for the last two days and I am having antibiotics. So, I could not focus my eyes for long,”, reported by NDTV.
The day is going to be remembered as ‘the day of shooters” as India added golds each in men’s 50m pistol team event and women’s 10m air rifle team event.
With whopping energy, the competition to sweep most of the gold continued later the day as India now stands on the podium with an upgrade of overall 194 medals, including 117 gold, 61 silver and 16 bronze medals.
Woman shuttler Ashwini Ponappa, the fierce star of South Asian Games led India to the semi-finals. When Ashwani stood at the court paired with PV Sindhu, lowly-ranked Nepal could hardly harbor a fight. Ashwani has been crowned with some excellent titles, a sincere sense of grit and gumption and some truly memorable moments throughout her career.
Image Credit: Sports Keeda
Born in Karnataka, Ashwini’s father was a national hockey player. Ashwani’s sport wasn’t going to be that as she rooted with badminton over hockey and later started getting trained in the same.
Before you catch her next game, know 6 things about the Indian badminton doubles star Ashwini Ponappa that inspire us.
Ashwini was the winner of Indian junior championships in 2001 as a 12-year old. Five years later, in 2007, her strong and cut-throat game smashed her opponents down at the court of the South Asian Games which brought her the Gold and lots of fans.
In 2010, at the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi, Ashwini paired with Jwala Gutta clinched the Gold medal in the Women’s Doubles. Thereupon, they were known as the first Indian duo to grab a medal in that category at the event. Ashwini also won a silver in the Mixed Team event at the Games partnered with another.
In 2011, Ashwini along with her partner Gutta launched an excellent match when they grappled a bronze medal at the World Championships in Copenhagen. Henceforth, their names were stamped in history as Indian doubles pair to stand on the podium at the marquee event after Prakash Padukone(1983).
Glasgow Commonwealth Games held in 2014 added another silver medal on their collars. The duo continued winning Bronze medals in the Asian Games in Incheon and the Uber Cup in New Delhi in the same year
She The People Women In Sport
In June 2015, Ashwini-Jwala duo earned their first and only title in the year, the Canada Open women’s doubles by defeating the top-ranked Dutch pair of Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek.
26-year-old Ashwini also participated in the inaugural edition of the Indian Badminton League. In 2015, she was chosen by Bengaluru Top Guns to represent their franchise in the Premier Badminton League (PBL). Now country’s doubles hopes are pinned on her for Rio 2016