SocietySports Your Handy Guide to Indian Sportswomen at Rio Olympics 2016

Your Handy Guide to Indian Sportswomen at Rio Olympics 2016

India will be at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro from 5th- 21st August with their largest ever contingent, after the 83-strong team at London Olympics in 2012. The Indian Olympic Association is sending 124 athletes to Rio in 15 sports competing in 64 events, out of which 56 are women. Below is the complete list of Indian sports women competing in 2016 Summer Olympics at Rio with information on the schedule too. The games begin tomorrow, i.e. 5th august 2016.

India will be at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 5th- 21st August with their largest ever contingent, after the 83-strong team at London Olympics in 2012. The Indian Olympic Association is sending 124 athletes to Rio in 15 sports competing in 64 events, out of which 56 are women. The athletes are hoping to tally the medals higher than the eight they won in London in 2012.

There are many firsts in this contingent. Watch out for the Indian women’s hockey team who is at the Olympics after 36 years. Indian gymnast Karmakar has also created history by qualifying in the quadrennial event. Swimmer Kataria will be the first woman in 12 years to qualify for the Olympics. The Phogat sisters are as usual ruling the wrestling sport and we have a new comer in table tennis. Scroll down for more juicy details in each sport.

Below is the complete list of Indian sports women competing in 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with information on the schedule too. The games begin tomorrow, i.e. 5th august 2016. Watch out for archer Deepika Kumari.

Three cheers for our #IndianWomenInSports!


Three Indian women’s archers qualified after having secured top eight finish in the women’s team recurve event. The 21-year-old Deepika Kumari tallied a score of 686 out of 720 in the qualifying round, thereby equalling the WR, held by Ki Boe Bae of South Korea. Jo Areum of Korea finished second with a score of 676 while Lisa Unruh of Germany finished third with a score of 672. Kumari, the world number 5, hopes to earn a medal at Rio. With her, are Laxmirani Majhi and Bombayla Devi, the trio won a silver at the World Championship in August 2015.

Kumari told The Times of India on her surprisingly disappointing performance at London Olympics 2012, “…I have never shared my pain after that crushing defeat and this is probably the only time I am speaking of it. Even my parents could not understand the trauma I went through. Only I know it, as it was my dream that went up in smoke before I could do anything to stop it from happening. As I see it, I have unfinished business with the Olympic Games. The demons within will only be conquered when I have that medal around my neck.”

The trio will compete on August 5 in women’s individual and women’s team event.

deepika kumari


Indian has a 17 women strong contingent in athletics ranging from 200m race to 400m race, shot put, relay, marathon, discus throw among others. This is by far the biggest contingent of atheletes representing India at Rio.

Dutee Chand (200m), Srabani Nanda (200m), Nirmala Sheoran (400m), Tintu Luka (800m), Lalita Babar (3000m steeplechase), Sudha Singh (4 × 400m relay), Ashwini Akkunji (4 × 400m relay), Debashree Majumdar (4 × 400m relay), Jisna Mathew (4 × 400m relay), M. R. Poovamma (4 × 400m relay), Nirmala Sheoran (4 × 400m relay), Anilda Thomas (4 × 400m relay), O. P. Jaisha (Marathon), Kavita Raut (Marathon), Khushbir Kaur (20km walk), Sapna Punia (20km walk), Manpreet Kaur (Shot put ), Seema Antil (Discus throw).

20-year-old athlete Dutee Chand clocked 11.33 seconds to break, by a fair margin, Rachita Mistry’s standing record of 11.38 seconds, one she had set in 2000, at National Circuit Athletic Meet held in Thiruvananthapuram. Chand, after her qualification, vowed to perform even better and not let anyone down in the Olympics. “I am really happy at the moment. It has been a tough year for me and I am so happy that my coach Ramesh sir’s and my hard work has paid off,” Chand said to The Hindu. She also defeated IOC’s hormone testing rules that banned her for playing in 2014. Although, she lost an entire year of training, Chand went ahead and qualified for the Olympics.

dutee chand


Saina Nehwal, already an Olympic medal holder, will play in her third Olympics and is India’s hope for another medal. Her second Australian Open title saw her beat world champions Ratchanok Intanon (2013) and Wang Yihan (2011) before overpowering China’s Sun Yu in the final in Sydney. Alongside her is Pusarla Sindhu who will play in women’s singles. Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa will play in women’s doubles.

Last time, I was very fortunate to get bronze medal. So, hopefully, this time, if I play, I hope to get at least one medal for the country. I hope to be injury-free to participate in Rio Olympics,” Nehwal, who is recovering from a foot injury, told PTI.

saina nehwal

Field Hockey

For the first Indian women’s hockey team to go to the Olympics in 36 years. The Indian women’s hockey team qualified for Rio 2016 by achieving a top-five finish at the 2014–15 Women’s FIH Hockey World League Semi-finals.

The Squad: Sushila Chanu (c), Navjot Kaur, Deep Grace Ekka, Monika, Nikki Pradhan, Anuradha Devi Thokchom, Savita, Poonam Rani, Vandana Kataria, Deepika (vice-captain), Namita Toppo, Renuka Yadav, Sunita Lakra, Rani, Preeti Dubey, Lilima Minz.

Unfortunately, Captain Ritu Rani did not get the ticket to Rio on grounds of attitude and fitness, however, Indian men’s hockey team captain Sardar Singh, who is accused of sexual harassment will go to Rio. “The difference in the way Sardar and I have bee treated is an indication that they feel differently about women players. The charges made against Sardar are serious, but Hockey India has protected him. One senior player was protected, while the other is humiliated“, says Rani to The Times of India.

Indian women's hockey team


Aditi Ashok is the only female Indian golfer among the go-strong field, she will also, at just 18, be the youngest competitor on view. Young Aditi will represent the country in the women’s event. “Olympics is pretty close and making it to Rio is one of my short-term goals, but I have to play well in a few pro events before July next year to get in. I would work on each event and try and get my world ranking as high as I can. Olympics is the goal but it is like any other event that’s going to come. It would be great if I make it, but I don’t want to get into the whole selection and stuff. If I just keep playing well and do my best then my chances will be good,” said Ashok to The Times of India.

aditi ashok


Dipa Karmakar from Tripura created history by being the first woman gymnast from India to book an Olympic Berth. She will be competing at the Rio Olympics 2016. The 22-year-old garnered a total score of 52.698 points in the Olympics qualifying event to book a berth for artistic gymnastics. She qualified for the quadrennial event which is an achievement in itself. She is now best known for her bold attempt at a complicated move called the Produnova — a double frontal vault — gave her 15.066 points, the highest among 14 competitors. “I learnt the double vault for three months before the 2014 Commonwealth Games; others do it for years before even trying it out in competition,” she said to The Hindu. Karmakar will compete on August 7.

dipa karmakar


Indian shooter Ayonika Paul, who will represent the country at the Rio Olympics, said she thrives under pressure and is now focusing on polishing her technique ahead of the Games. Paul, a second year ME student at the Pillai College of Engineering, will compete in the 10 meters air rifle event at the Olympics. “I am happy about it and for me, I always love to play with a bit of pressure. Whatever preparations had to be done, are done, right now I am just polishing my techniques”, says Paul to SheThePeople. Paul will compete in the 10m air rifle event on August 6.

Apurvi Chandela, the rising shooter marked her berth in Olympics after securing an Olympic quota place by winning a bronze medal in the ISSF World Cup in Changwon, Korea in April, 2015. “I play every match with the intention of giving my best, and I think it’s normal to have pressure of performing well. I also had it in the first match I ever played, but I am getting used to it now since I’ve competed in so many competitions and gained more experience”, says Chandela to SheThePeople. Chandela will also compete in the 10m air rifle event on August 6.

India’s top pistol shooter Heena Sidhu secured an Olympic quota for the country after she led from start to finish and claimed the gold medal in women’s 10-m air pistol on day one of competition at the Asia Olympic Qualifiers for Shooting. “The margin between victory and defeat is so thin at the Olympics. Anger is not a good emotion to have at a crucial time like that. All these incidents have gone into my notebook for future reference”, says Sidhu to SheThePeople. Sidhu will compete in the 10m air pistol event on 7th August and 25m pistol on 9th August at Rio Olympics.

heena sidhu


Shivani Kataria is living her dream, to swim for India on the biggest stage of all – The Olympics. The 18-year-old will compete in the 200m freestyle category, making her the first Indian women to swim in the Summer Olympics in 12 years after 2004 in Athens. “I have been selected for Rio, and my aim is to finish high in 200m freestyle. I realised I was the first female swimmer since 2004 to represent India at the Olympics. I want to use this opportunity to motivate and encourage more girls to take up the sport and pursue it professionally. India has a lot of talent and I believe that any female swimmer’s success would motivate other girls who might be afraid to try swimming,” she said to The Times of India.

Kataria will compete in the 200m freestyle event on August 8.

shivani kataria

Table Tennis

Mouma Das booked her ticket to Rio Olympics after winning the final round in Stage 2 of the Asia Olympic Qualification tournament. For Das, it will be her second Olympics as she had first competed in the singles event at Athens in 2004. Das will represent India at the Rio 2016 Olympics in Table Tennis women’s singles and doubles. Women’s singles and doubles table tennis is scheduled to take place on August 6 to August 17.

Upcoming table tennis star Manika Batra, who started playing the sport when she was only 5, won three gold medals and one silver medal at the 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati and Shillong in 2016 and thus qualified for Rio Olympics. “My dream now is to represent India at the Rio Olympics. I am focused on preparing myself and maintaining a good performance to compete but let us hope I get qualified for it (Olympics),” Batra told The Times of India. Batra will compete in the women’s singles event against Poland.

manika batra


Sania Mirza will pair up with the 22-year-old Prarthana Thombare in women’s doubles on August 6/7 and with Rohan Bopanna in mixed doubles on August 10 in the Rio Games.

The Olympics will be a great experience for Prarthana, she’ll benefit hugely. She has done well in the last 12 months and has climbed in the rankings. The competition will be tough and we’ll take it one match at a time“, Mirza said to The Times of India. “Both of us had already committed because of which we couldn’t play together in the Slams. But I know Rohan for a long time, we’re friends, we’ve partnered before, we know each other’s games,” Mirza said. “This is not going to be easy, there will be big teams in the fray (the entries will be finalized following the sign in at the venue). We hope to carry our best form into the tournament and let’s see where that takes us.”
sania mirza


21-year-old Saikhom Mirabai Chanu from Manipur broke the 48kg national record held by Olympian and women’s national coach Kunjarani Devi. Chanu won silver medal in the women’s 48 kg weight class at the 2014 Commonwealth Games held at Glasgow. Gold medal in the 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati in 2016. Chanu is trained by Kunjarani Devi, one of the most decorated Indian sportswomen in weightlifting. Chanu earned the Rio 2016 Olympics ticket after giving getting through in Olympics trials held in Patiala.

Chanu will compete in the Women’s 48kg event on August 6.

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu


Three women are participating in the Freestyle division, Vinesh Phogat will compete in the women’s 48 kg category on August 17, Babita Kumari will compete in the women’s 53 kg category on August 18, and Sakshi Malik will compete in the women’s 58 kg category on August 17. “Going to the Olympics has been my dream right from the day I started wrestling. I am glad that I could achieve that today. It wasn’t an easy journey“, says Phogat.

The Phogat sisters come from a family of wrestlers in Balali in Haryana. Their sister Geeta Phogat completes the trio. They faced challenges when the three took up wrestling but now the village is mighty proud of them. Geeta and Babita’s father Mahavir Singh Phogat was himself a wrestler, but also faced criticism to take his daughters to the wrestling pit. Geeta broke the glass ceiling when she won a gold medal at Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010. This has paved a way for the younger Babita and cousin Vinesh.

I think my family is a classic example to all those who feel a girl child is a curse. We have proved that nothing is impossible. I sincerely hope that our success reaches out to more and more people and can change their mindset,” said Vinesh, the winner of the freestyle 48kg gold.

Vinesh and babita phogat


  1. India at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Wikipedia

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