National Sports Day: Female Sporting Legends Who Have Made India Proud

By: WE Staff

On the annual canvas of time, one day stands out as a radiant tribute to the spirit of athleticism and the pursuit of excellence – National Sports Day. This hallowed day, a celebration of physical prowess and sporting fervor, pays homage to the indomitable spirits who have etched their names in the archives of sports history. With its origins rooted in honoring a legendary sporting icon, the day has evolved into a nationwide ode to dedication, teamwork, and the unwavering pursuit of dreams.

In the realm of sports, a group of extraordinary Indian women-athletes have etched their names into history through their unwavering dedication and remarkable achievements. Their stories illuminate the path from humble beginnings to international recognition, and their triumphs inspire millions.

These remarkable women sportswomen, united by their dedication to their crafts, have transformed the landscape of Indian sports. Their stories serve as beacons of hope for aspiring athletes, embodying the adage that with perseverance and passion, greatness can be achieved, and barriers can be surmounted.

On National Sports Day we pay homage to the Indian women sporting legends. These women of steel are truly India’s pride.

PT Usha

PT Usha is a legendary athlete who dominated Asian track and field events for most of the 1980s. She is often called the "queen of Indian track and field" or the "Payyoli Express".

She has won 23 medals at Asian competitions, including 14 gold medals. She also came close to winning an Olympic medal in 1984, when she finished fourth in the 400 m hurdles by a margin of 0.01 seconds.

PT Usha was born in Koothali, Kerala, and discovered her talent for running at school. She was coached by O.M. Nambiar, who shaped her into a world-class sprinter. She is an Arjuna Award winner, a Padma Shri winner, and a Rajya Sabha member.

Mary Kom - Boxing

MC Mary Kom, an Olympic boxer from Manipur, India, is the only woman to have won medals in all six world championships and a five-time world amateur boxing champion. She established precedent as the only female boxer from India to make it to the 2012 London Olympics and take home a bronze medal.

She won gold medals at the Asian Games (2014) and the Commonwealth Games (2018) and was ranked No. 1 in the 45-48 kg division in 2018.

Mary persevered against opposition from her family, financial difficulties, and personal obstacles to achieve success on a global scale. Her trip continues to inspire; she is a promoter of wildlife and a Rajya Sabha member.

Sania Mirza - Tennis

Sania Mirza, a pioneering Indian tennis legend is a well-known Grand Slam winner, along with Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes. Sania's tryst with international tennis began in 1999 when she competed in the World Junior Championship. She competed along with Paes in the Asian Games, which led to her breakout in 2002.

Sania, at 16 years old, and Alisa Kleybanova won the Wimbledon Girls' Doubles in 2003, ending India's 51-year absence from Grand Slam finals.

She overcame obstacles and disregarded religious opposition. Sania's reputation as a prominent tennis player and advocate throughout the world survives thanks to awards like the Arjuna Award, Padma Shri, and Khel Ratna.

Saina Nehwal - Badminton

Indian badminton star Saina Nehwal broke barriers to become India’s first shuttler to win an Olympic medal. She held the world No. 1 position, won 24 international championships, including 10 Super Series wins, and made a significant contribution to the growth of badminton in India. She overcome gender preconceptions after being introduced to the sport by her parents.

Milestones like Saina's Olympic quarterfinal appearance in 2008, Super series triumph in 2009, Commonwealth Games gold in 2010, and world No. 1 ranking in 2015 are a part of her path. Despite suffering sports injusry, she was still a fierce rival. Awards and endorsements that reflect her considerable impact in sports were given to her in recognition of her accomplishments.

Mirabai Chanu - Weightlifting

Mirabai Chanu is a weightlifting sensation who made India proud by winning the silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the women's 49 kg category. She is the first Indian weightlifter to win an Olympic medal in 21 years. She is also a world champion and a Commonwealth Games gold medalist.

Mirabai Chanu hails from Manipur and started weightlifting at the age of 12. She was inspired by the Olympic gold medal of Abhinav Bindra in 2008. She overcame many challenges and hardships to achieve her dream of becoming an Olympian. She is a recipient of the Padma Shri and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awards.

Deepika Kumari - Archery

Indian archer Deepika Kumari gained popularity in 2010 after winning gold in the women's individual and team recurve archery at the Commonwealth Games. She hais from a humble Ranchi household and practiced using improvised tools while showing her inherent skill. Joining Tata Archery Academy allowed for the right instruction and tools.

Despite experiencing highs and lows, she won the Youth World Archery Championship and the Commonwealth Games. She attained World No. 1 in 2012, endured a challenging 2014, and won medals in succeeding years. Her Olympic path featured a setback in London in 2012. The Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri, which recognize resilience and devotion, were among the honours given to Deepika for her accomplishments.

Apurvi Chandela - Sharpshooting

Apurvi Chandela is a sharpshooter who competes in the 10-metre air rifle event. She is currently ranked No. 11 in the world and has represented India at two Olympic Games. She has won several medals at the World Cup, the Commonwealth Games, and the Asian Games.

Apurvi was born in Jaipur, Rajasthan, and studied sociology at Delhi University. She was drawn to shooting after watching Abhinav Bindra's Olympic gold medal performance in 2008. She trained under coach O.M. Nambiar and made her international debut in 2014. She is an Arjuna Award winner and a role model for many aspiring shooters.

Smriti Mandhana – Cricket

Smriti Mandhana is a cricketing star who plays as an opening batter for the Indian women's national team. She is one of the most prolific run-scorers in women's cricket and has scored five centuries and 26 half-centuries in ODIs. She also holds the record for the fastest fifty by an Indian woman in T20Is.

Smriti was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, and grew up in Sangli. She was influenced by her father and brother, who were both cricketers. She started playing cricket at the age of six and made her international debut at the age of 16. She is a recipient of the ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year award and the BCCI Best Women's International Cricketer award.