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A look at the notable Limca records held by Indian sportswomen

The best records by Indian women from the 2015 Limca book of Records.

FEATURED COLUMNIST
23 Jan 2015, 18:46 IST
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Did you know Mitahli Raj was the first Indian batswomen to score a double hundred in Test Cricket?

The 26th edition of the Limca Book of Records (LBR) was launched by Coca-Cola India on the first day of the Jaipur Literature Festival. First launched in 1990, The LBR is the second book of records after the Guinness Book of Records.

The current edition of the book carries a total of 20 sections, covering every aspect from sports to politics to entertainment, and celebrates various stupendous achievements of Indians over the years. The book provides all Indians a platform to showcase their talents across a number of fields.

Incredible achievements by Indian women athletes

The sports chapter of the book consists of several extraordinary records held by Indian women athletes, and almost every sport finds due space.

Take for example Deepika Kumari, who holds the record for the most number of consecutive nationals titles in archery. The 20-year-old archer from Ranchi won her sixth straight Nationals title in the 34th Senior National Archery Championship at JRD Tata Sports Complex in December 2013.

There’s also Dola Banerjee, who is the first and only Indian to have won gold in the women’s individual recurve competition at the World Cup finals. She achieved the feat at the 2007 edition held in Dubai.

Badminton star P.V. Sindhu became the first woman to win a medal at the World Championships. She won a bronze medal at the 2013 World Championship in Guangzhou, China. Saina Nehwal, on the other hand, won India’s first medal in badminton at the Olympics when she clinched the bronze at the 2012 Londong Olympics.

The LBR recognizes Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa as India’s most consistent badminton pair when it comes to the Commonwealth Games. The duo won a gold in the 2010 edition and a silver in the 2014 edition, thus firmly establishing their place in Indian sports history.

Women’s cricket may not receive as much importance as the men’s in most peoples’ minds, but the LBR has recognised the incredible achievement of Indian fast bowler Jhulan Goswami. The woman from Bengal became the first Indian to pick up all 10 wickets in an innings against England in a Test match in Taunton in 2006.

Meanwhile, Mitahli Raj is the only Indian batswoman to have scored a double century in Tests. She achieved that feat in 2002 versus England, once again at Taunton.

The lesser known sports find their voice too

Indian sport is not just about cricket, hockey and football, and the LBR strongly reinforces that. It chronicles the achievements of Tripura gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who became the first Indian woman to win a medal in artistic gymnastics by bagging the bronze in the artistic women’s vault event during the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow.

Indian squash reached great heights last year when the doubles pair of Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa won India’s first ever gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. Pallikal also became the first Indian squash player to enter into the top-10 of the world rankings. She ended 2012 as ranked No. 10 in the world.

There’s also Vidya Pillai, the Indian athlete with the highest number of national wins for women. She broke the previous record in March 2014, when she defeated Chitra Magimaira in the National Snooker Championships in Lucknow. That was her eighth national title.

It’s a matter of pride for all Indians that the country’s women won a gold and two bronze medals in boxing at the 2014 Asian Games held in Incheon in South Korea. MC Mary Kom won the gold in the women’s flyweight (51 kg) event while L Sarita Devi and Pooja Rani won the bronze in the (lightweight – 60 kg) and (middleweight – 75 kg) categories respectively. This was Indian women’s best performance at the Games.

Sania Mirza became the first female Indian tennis player to win a Grand Slam in 2009, when she won the mixed doubles title with Mahesh Bhupathi at the Australian Open. But long before that, Jenny Sandison was the first Indian female player to represent India at the Wimbledon Championships, back in 1929. 

In addition, P Lima will always go down in history as the first winner of National Table Tennis Championships, that were held in Mumbai in 1939.

World class Indians in athletics

Anju Bobby George became the first Indian athlete to win a gold at a World Athletes Final when she was elevated to the top spot after Tatyana Kotova of Russia was disqualified from her win in Monte Carlo in September 2005. This was a landmark achievement, and even betters the feats of the likes of Milkha Singh and PT Usha.

At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India bagged three positions at the podium for the first time in its history as Krishna Poonia, Harwant Kaur and Seema Antil bagged gold, silver and bronze medals respectively in the women’s discus throw event. Further, Manjeet Kaur holds the unique record of being the first ever Indian athlete to win three successive gold medals in the women’s 4x400 m relay in the Asian Games (2002, 2006 and 2010).

Neha Ahuja became the first Indian woman flag bearer at the Winter Olympics held in Turin, Italy in 2006. Meanwhile, Geeta Phogat became the first Indian wrestler to represent the country at the Olympics; she was part of the wrestling contingent at the London Games in 2012.

The Limca records chronicle many more sterling efforts by Indian women athletes in addition to the ones that mentioned above. The book promises to act as a source of inspiration for all budding female athletes from the country who wish to shine on the global stage.

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