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Indian Female Olympians Who Reached The Finals Of An Event At Summer Olympics

Suma Shirur during Womens 10m Air Rifle Final
TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 12 Feb 2021
Top 5 / Top 10
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The Summer Olympics have a unique way of creating a lasting impression upon its loyalists, beholding history is something that draws us to the biggest sporting spectacle in the world, time and again.

With no sporting event bearing a tradition and history as rich as the Games, it is a big deal for any Olympian to represent a country, battle it out for pride and passion, and reach the finals of an event.

Let’s rewind our memories and revisit some of the finest performances by Indian women athletes at the sport’s grandest stage.

#9 4x400 Women's Relay Event

Rank (Finals) - 7th

Edition: 1984 Summer Olympics

India has quite an interesting chronicle at the Summer Olympics when it comes to women’s 4×400 relay events. One of the earliest relay victories of sorts for the nation was at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

The team, which consisted of legends like M. D. Valsamma, P. T. Usha, Vandana Rao, and Shiny Abraham, showcased the potential to qualify for the final event of the women’s 4x400m relay at the 1984 Summer Games. Though it was not a triumphant homecoming for the quartet, they put in a valiant effort to finish seventh in the event.

Also Read: 5 Indians who missed an Olympic bronze medal by a whisker


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#8 P.T. Usha - 400m Hurdles (Athletics)

Rank (Finals): 4th

Edition: 1984 Los Angeles Olympics

The year 1984 saw India make rapid strides in athletic sports. For 20-year-old P.T. Usha, making a grandeur appearance at the Olympics was no easy feat, until she became no stranger to history. Even 35 years later, she continues to be one of India’s glittering prospects in the athletic ecosystem.

She headed to Los Angeles armed with the confidence of edging past Romania’s Cristieana Cojocaru. However, a fraction of a second cost India a place on the podium. She kept the entire nation on the edge of its seats until she missed out on bronze in the 400m hurdles by 1/100th of a second. P.T. Usha’s efforts had won her the adulation of millions and had turned the spotlight on higher barriers, on and off the field.


#7 4x400 Women’s Relay Event

Rank in Finals: 7th

Edition: 2004 Summer Olympics

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It is believed that India’s relay success story in the 1984 Olympics helped women athletes set newer trends in the nation’s sporting scenario.

The country recorded its best-ever women’s relay performance at the 2004 Athens Olympics when the team consisting of Rajwinder Kaur, K M Beenamol, Chitra K Soman and Geetha Satti set a national record of 3:26.89 in the heats to qualify for the final stage.

The team came third behind USA and hosts Greece in the semis, and later finished last among the seven teams in the final.


#6 Suma Shirur - 10m Air Rifle, Shooting

Rank (Finals): 8th

Edition: 2004 Summer Olympics

Rifle shooter Suma Shirur is best known for her joint national record in the 10m air rifle qualification round at the Asian Athletics Championships in Kuala Lumpur, where she shot a perfect 400.

Her gold winning effort earned her a berth at the Athens Olympics, alongside Anjali Bhagwat. Shirur secured eighth spot in the final event, with a total score of 497.2 points.


#5 Anju Bobby George - Long Jump (Athletics)

Rank (Finals): 5th

Edition: 2004 Athens Games

Anju Bobby George competing in long jump at Athens Olympics
Anju Bobby George competing in long jump at Athens Olympics

The first Indian athlete to win a medal at the World Championships in athletics jumping, Anju Bobby George broke the national long jump record and entered the finals of the 2004 Athens Olympics.

She came fifth with a personal best of 6.83 m at the Games. Unfortunately, she could not win a medal.

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#4 Krishna Poonia - Discuss Throw (Athletics)

Rank (Finals): 6th

Edition: 2012 Summer Olympics

Krishna Poonia with her Commonwealth Games gold medal

On the back of a stellar showing at the Commonwealth Games that saw her secure a gold medal and a two-time appearance at the Games, Krishna Poonia was one of India’s biggest hopes heading into the London Olympics in 2012.

Having qualified for the women's discus throw final round in London, she finished sixth in the event with her best effort of 63.62 m coming in her fifth and penultimate attempt. Krishna secured 62.42 m in the first attempt, 61.61 in the third, 61.31 in the sixth and final throw, with two no-throws in the second and fourth attempts.


#3 Lalita Babar - Steeplechase (Athletics)

Rank (Finals): 10th Place

Edition: 2016 Rio Olympics

Lalita Babbar in action during Rio Olympics

At a time when other athletes in track and field events failed in their quest to reach the next round at the Olympics, it was Lalita Babar who put her best foot forward and cruised India closer to a medal finish.

She became the first Indian in a span of 32 years to qualify for the final of a track event at the Games, after P T Usha. She did so by putting in a solid effort to break the national record with a time of 9:19.76 in the qualification round.

However, upon finishing with a time of 9:22.74 in the final event, she held herself to run at a good pace that kept her in contention for a top-10 finish.


#2 Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna (Mixed Doubles, Tennis)

Rank (Finals): 4th

Edition: 2016 Rio Olympics

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Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza during Rio Olympics
Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza during Rio Olympics

The narrow semi-final defeat of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna in the mixed doubles event at the 2016 Rio Olympics perhaps deserves a special mention in the list.

The Indian duo went down fighting in the semis of the mixed doubles event against US pair of Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The Indians won the first set with much ease before squandering the lead and further going down 6-2, 2-6, 3-10 in one hour and 17 minutes at the Olympic Tennis Center on August 14, 2016. The Americans reached the final and assured themselves of at least a silver.


#1 Dipa Karmakar - Vault (Gymnastics)

Rank (Finals): 4th

Edition: 2016 Rio Olympics

Dipa Karmakar performing the Produnova vault
Dipa Karmakar performing the Produnova vault

Regarded best as a dominant force in Indian gymnastics from a young age, Dipa Karmakar became the first female gymnast from India to qualify for the Olympics.

She may not have won a medal but was ranked in an impressive fourth position in the women’s vault finals in Rio de Janeiro on August 14, 2016.

Dipa scored an impressive 15.066 to execute one of the most dangerous feats in gymnastics, the Produnova vault.

Published 12 Feb 2021, 16:56 IST
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