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The power of a silent roar: Indian women in sports

Pankaj Sharma
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
300   //    15 Jul 2018, 02:03 IST

FINLAND-ATHLETICS
Hima Das: A star in making!

Have you ever heard of a silent roar? You can see that roar in the tears of Hima Das, when the national anthem was played honoring her for winning a gold in the track event, in the eyes of Dipa Karmakar, right before she started her run to complete the Produnova, when Manika Batra punches her fist in the air after defeating the world no. 4 in a match that wasn’t for the faint-hearted.

The Indian sportswomen are not only performing great in the games they play but also getting a place on the podium, more often than not. To know what few of them have done while making their country proud, let’s understand the achievements they have earned in the recent past.

Hima Das: She ran like the wind!

Kicking ball in mud pits was her favourite pastime. Being the daughter of a rice farmer, she was used to the grip required to play in the muddy fields. The dream in her eyes of making it big someday came true, though unexpectedly and unknowingly when she was advised by a local coach to take up athletics.

Later, she was spotted by Nipon Das, an athletics coach (Directorate of Sports and Youth Welfare) in an inter-district meet, where she won the gold medal in 100 and 200 meters race.

The fairy-tale began when Nipon managed to convince her parents to let her attend Sarusajai Sports Complex, in Guwahati where she was groomed to attain the level she has reached today.

A few days ago, on the day of her 400m race, she started slow. She wasn’t there in the top three at the last curve and when nobody expected any miracle, it happened. She ran like a wind. In the last 80 meters, she scripted a piece of history, wrapped in tri-colour with a gold medal on it.

In the end, she was way ahead of her competitors in the second and third place. Would you believe that just 18 months ago, she first wore her spikes?

Dipa Karmakar: Stronger than fear

‘Vault of death’ or as it is better known, Produnova is an artistic gymnastics vault. Over the last two decades, only five gymnasts have been able to complete it successfully, including Dipa Karmakar.

Performing at the highest stage (Rio 2016), Dipa performed Produnova to a near perfection. Although she wasn’t able to book a podium finish, yet her breathtaking efforts made everybody in the stadium look up to her in an awe.

Two years ago, when she got injured during her training program, nobody would have thought of such a wonderful comeback. Recovering from an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury, Dipa became the second Indian gymnast ever to win a medal at an international podium (World Challenge Cup 2018).

Lack of facilities and a lukewarm response to gymnastics as a sport were never a deterrent for her. With 77 medals, including 67 golds in state, national and international championships in last 11 years, Dipa has proved her metal, again and again. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going!

Manika Batra: Master of Odd Rubber!

Manika was a child prodigy. She started playing at the age of 4 and by the time she was eight (8) she was already playing at the state level. Her constant hard-work paid off when she won a silver in her first national level competition. She was just 15.

She has won 5 golds, 2 silver and 1 bronze in the last couple of years, representing India in Commonwealth (2018) and South Asian games (2016). In Commonwealth games, Manika defeated the defending champion from Singapore.

What’s noteworthy is that the Singapore team was undefeated, since Table Tennis was inducted in the 2002 Commonwealth games.

Her tactical switches left the world No. 4, Tianwei Feng flabbergasted in the semi-final match, which lasted for seven pulsating games. The constant flipping of the racket is difficult to manage but the technique helped Manika to keep the opponent guessing about the speed of the ball in every shot.

Very few players are there in this world who are capable of carrying out such stuff. Be proud, the 'Batman' is here to stay and clinch gold for us in the competitions to come!

What's Next

The trio has proved that once trained and given a chance they can habitually win medals for their country, however tough the competition is. Apart from these three girls, India recently has seen a number of brilliant performances at the international level from Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sidhu, Sakshi Malik, Sania Mirza and many more.

It has been long since we have given the due to our sports women and more, generally speaking, the women we know in our lives. Let’s vote for equality and allow our girls to go and conquer this world. The time is now.

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Pankaj Sharma
CONTRIBUTOR
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