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Celebrating Women's Day: What Kids Can Learn From Famous Indian Sports Women

Sherine Paul Solomon Sherine Paul Solomon 6 Mins Read

Sherine Paul Solomon Sherine Paul Solomon

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This International Women's Day, we take a look at some outstanding Indian sports women who are inspirations and role models in their own respective fields

Primary to Pre-teen
Celebrating Women's Day: What Kids Can Learn From Famous Indian Sports Women
"It doesn't matter what your background is or where you came from. If you have dreams and goals, that's all that matters."

- Serena Williams

Sports have the unique ability to give you a sense of accomplishment while teaching you a number of life skills. Confidence, hard work, discipline, overcoming adversity, teamwork and sacrifices are a few things that you learn while playing a sport.

It is important for children to grow up with positive role models and there is no better arena to turn to than the sports field. In recent years India has seen a boom in female sports stars who have achieved great success against all odds. Success didn't come to them overnight instead they worked hard and ultimately earned plaudits and fame. One of the pioneers in India sports PT Usha famously said, "Happiness is nothing but satisfaction - satisfaction through work, thoughts, and accomplishing our mission." 

Playing sports not only helps your child stay active but also imbibes a number of positive traits in them. A never say die attitude, winning mentality, working in a team, passion and hard work, being focused, better communication skills are some of the qualities that define great athletes. We look at some of the inspiring female Indian athletes who have overcome numerous obstacles to thrive and shine in their chosen field.

1. PV Sindhu

Sport: Badminton

Notable achievements

  • First Indian Badminton World Champion
  • First Indian to win a silver medal at the Olympics
  • Career high rank of World No 2

What you can learn from Sindhu

"Win or lose, I always focus only on giving my 100 percent."

Sindhu is known for her great work ethic as she traveled 56km every morning from her home to make it on time for training. Sindhu also admits that the sacrifices by her parents have made her the champion she is today.

2. Saina Nehwal

Sport: Badminton

Notable achievements

  • Former world No 1
  • First Indian to win an Olympic medal
  • Only Indian to have won at least one medal at every major BWF individual event (Olympics, BWF World Championships and BWF World Junior Championships)
  • 24 international titles include 11 Superseries titles

What you can learn from Saina

"I love winning more than I love badminton. Winning is everything"

As a young child when she moved to Hyderabad despite not knowing the language she channeled her energy into her badminton instead. Despite a lot of financial strain on her parents in her initial years on the tour, Saina worked hard and repaid them tenfold after her success.

3. Mary Kom

Sport: Boxing

Notable achievements

  • Only female to be World Amateur Boxing champion 6 times
  • Won a medal at each of her first 7 World Championships
  • Former World No 1 female light-flyweight

What you can learn from Mary

"Don't give up as there is always a next time"

In a sport dominated by men, Mary had to convince herself and others that she belonged in this sport. She struggled to find sparring partners early on in her career so used to train with men.

4. Dipa Karmarkar

Sport: Gymnastics

Notable achievements

  • Commonwealth Games bronze medallist
  • First Indian female gymnast to compete at the Olympics
  • First Indian gymnast to win a gold medal at a global event
  • One of five women to successfully land the Produnova

What you can learn from Dipa

"The more you practice, the more you will get better"

Dipa had flat feet something not ideal for a gymnast, she worked hard to develop an arch and strength in her feet. Mattresses were her friend while training. All these struggles were worth it as she landed one of the most dangerous vaults in the world - the Produnova and went on to compete at the Rio Olympics.

5. Hima Das

Sport: Athletics

Notable achievements

  • First Indian athlete to win a gold medal at the IAAF World U20 Championships
  • Triple Asian Games medalist

What you can learn from Hima

"Success and failure are part and parcel of life"

Coming from a financially backward family, Hima didn't even have enough money to buy proper shoes to run in. Despite this she didn't let it hinder her and overcame the odds to eventually sprint to victory.

6. Sania Mirza

Sport: Tennis

Notable achievements

  • Former doubles World No 1
  • Six Grand Slam titles
  • World No 27 in singles, was known for her powerful forehand
  • 14 medals including 6 golds at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and Afro-Asian Games

What you can learn from Sania

"Even if you are the World No 1 you still have things you can improve on"

Sania put Indian world tennis on the map despite numerous controversies including critics belittling her achievements. Sania continued to put her head down, overcame a wrist injury, worked hard, and continued to win laurels for the country.

7. Mithali Raj

Sport: Cricket

Notable achievements

  • Highest run-scorer in women's international cricket
  • The only woman to cross 6000 ODI runs
  • Most 50s in Women's ODIs
  • Leading run-scorer in all formats for India

What you can learn from Mitali: 

"Every day is a chance to get better"

In a country where the men's cricket team dominates headlines, Mithali Raj brought the women's team to the limelight. From a South Indian family, Mithali bucked the trend and pursued sports instead of academics. She is hailed as a great captain and batsman for India.

8. Sakshi Malik

Sport: Wrestling

Notable achievements

  • Olympic bronze medallist
  • Commonwealth Games silver medalist

What you can learn from Sakshi

"To those who told me I'm a girl and couldn't wrestle, I want to say, please show some trust, girls can do everything"

Coming from conservative Haryana Sakshi fought not only patriachybut boys on the field too and grew stronger. What she lacked in support from the system she got from her great coach and supportive parents. She didn't let their faith in her go in vain as she became the first Indian female wrestler to win an Olympic medal.

9. Apurvi Chandela

Sport: Shooting

Notable achievements

  • World champion and No 1 in Women's 10m Air Rifle
  • ISSF World Cup Gold medallist thrice

What you can learn from Apurvi

"World No 1 is a milestone but I've been working hard"

A late entrant to the sport aged 15, Apurvi is one of India's medal hopefuls at the Tokyo Olympics. In a sport that leaves little margin for error, she believes that hard work is most important regardless of talent or privilege and that nothing else can replace that. She is very goal-oriented and feels it's important to set short and long-term goals.

So encourage your children to do sports as if they are interested and pursue it - the sky is the limit.

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