By now, we can all agree that this year was a tough one. The Dalgona coffee excitement has long disappeared and we are more than willing to bid this year a goodbye. While most of us are working from our homes, there are others whose jobs didn’t give them this flexibility. They are the ones who unite an Indian household like no other; their work is an important topic for bonding or for small talk. Yes, I am talking about our sportspeople. The field of sports is a male-dominated one and while everyone knows what Virat Kohli is up to these days, let’s find out how our sportswomen are battling their way through this pandemic.
Here’s a look at 10 Indian Sportswomen who achieved new feats in 2020.
- Ekta Bisht
Born in Uttarakhand, Ekta Bisht has only been growing as a sportswoman. A left-hand batswoman and slow left-arm orthodox bowler, Bisht is famously known for leading India to victory by taking a hat-trick during the match of the ICC World Women Twenty20 played in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2012. Since then, Bisht went onto receive Khel Ratna Award by the Uttarakhand Government and became the fifth Indian woman to cross the 100 wicket mark with 129 international wickets and India’s fifth highest wicket taker in ODI’s & third highest in T20I’s.
In a recent interview Bisht revealed how quarantine helped her perfect her game which could be seen in the recent Women’s T20 Challenge where Bisht took three wickets for 22 runs leading Velocity to victory.
- Hima Das
Popularly known as the Dhing Express, Das is an Indian sprinter from the state of Assam. She holds the current Indian national record in 400 metres with a timing of 50.79s. She is also the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in a track event at the IAAF World U20 Championships.
The 20-year-old sprinter is currently recovering from a lower back injury but it does not deter her from aiming for Tokyo Olympics. “I am not worried about it (Olympics qualification), it will only create tension. There is a year still to go for the Olympics,” she told PTI from NIS Patiala.
- Dipa Karmakar
An artistic Gymnast, She first gained attention for becoming the first Indian female Gymnast to win a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
After sitting out most of 2019 due to a knee injury, Dipa Karmakar is back to regain her form for the Tokyo Olympics. With six of the eight gymnastics World Cups already completed, Karmakar hopes on the remaining two.
In her interview with PTI, Karmakar talked about her eagerness to grab the opportunity; “Given the situation, they(remaining World Cups) perhaps will happen next year. So it gives me more time to recover and prepare for the two events. I will give my best to return to form and hopefully, I can do well and qualify.”
- Poonam Yadav
In January 2020, the 28 year old spinner was named in India’s squad for the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia. In June 2018, Yadav entered the top five of the women’s T20I rankings and came in third on the list. She also became India’s highest wicket-taker in Twenty20 Internationals in September 2018 with 57 wickets from 39 T20Is.
- Sakshi Malik
A freestyle wrestler, Malik became the first Indian female wrestler to win a bronze medal at the Olympics. She had previously won the silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and the bronze medal at the 2015 Asian Wrestling Championships in Doha.
Malik is now aiming for the postponed Olympics as she spoke about the pandemic’s impact on her training in an interview, “Mentally and psychologically, it has some impact. Mat training has not been happening nor matches. Ours is a contact sport, and we cannot do so without partners. As soon as we resume it, will focus on mat training.”
- Trupti Murgundi
Trupti Murgundi is an Indian Badminton player who plays singles & doubles. Born in Pune, she has won the 2009 National Championship for Women after remaining runners up for 3 times. She was also senior nationals’ doubles runner up and junior national doubles champion. Murgundi is also a five times South Asian Games gold medalist, including twice in singles in 2004 and 2006.
She retired in 2014 and was recently conferred with the very prestigious Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports, thus making her the first badminton player to be given the award.
- Vinesh Phogat
If you are a fan of Aamir Khan’s Dangal you would be familiar with the Phogat family. Vinesh Phogat along with her cousins Geeta and Babeeta Phogat has managed to make a name for her in the field of wrestling. She became the first Indian woman wrestler to win Gold in both Commonwealth and Asian games and in January 2020 won gold in Rome Ranking Series, defeating Luisa Elizabeth Valverde (4-0).
Moreover, she is now the first Indian wrestler to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics!
- Saikhom Mirabai Chanu
A weightlifter, Chanu has had a permanent presence in international events. Born in Manipur, Chanu has won World Championships and multiple medals at the Commonwealth Games. She boasts high ranking awards like Padma Shri Award and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award which were given to her by the Government of India in 2018.
She currently ranks fourth in the World Championships and finished 2019 by winning gold at Qatar International Cup.
Lalremsiami is a Mizo Indian professional field hockey player who plays as a forward for the Indian national team. The 19 year old has become a crucial part of the Women’s Hockey Team only just two years of joining. Recently, she became the first women’s hockey player from the country to win the FIH Rising Star of the Year award.
In an interview with scroll she revealed how these achievements don’t pressure her, “I feel that the awards will motivate me even more to put in the hard yards and perform for my team in the biggest of stages. I have to continue playing the way I have been in the last few years and keep moving forward.”
- Annu Rani
A javelin athelete, Annu Rani became the first Indian woman to surpass the 60m mark in the javelin throw. The world no. 12 women javelin champion is now preparing for qualifying for the upcoming Olympics. Rani has achieved multiple feats including silver medal at the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships and is now more than ready to enter the Olympics. In an interview with Hindustan Times she revealed her strategy to make it to the Olympics, “I have always planned to cross the qualification mark and not rely on rankings.”
Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive or representative list. Suggestions to add to the list are welcome in the comments section.