The teenage badminton sensation from Hyderabad, is just another entry on the Indian sports scene, more and more of which, is now being dominated by women.
The 18-year-old, picked up bronze at World Championship, closing a 30-year-old gap before India picked up a medal in single’s category, way back in 1983. It were the women even in Hockey who have brought laurels for the country.
Indian junior women’s hockey team picked up bronze medal in FIH Junior World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany. Even in archery, it is the women team bringing laurels.
Deepika Kumari and Laishram Bombayla Devi helped India finish second behind China in the recurve qualification round of the Archery World Cup Stage 3 being held in Medellin, Colombia, recently.
Deepika’s seventh and Bombayla’s eighth finishes were the best among the Indians as the men’s team failed short of expectations to finish a lowly 14th in the recurve qualification rounds. It is badminton that has been heavily dominated by women. Jwala Gutta,
left-handed player of mixed Indian and Chinese descent has won the National Badminton Championships thirteen times till 2010. She is a doubles badminton player who has partnered with Shruti Kurien and Ashwini Ponnappa, both female players of high caliber and stars in their own right.
And ofcourse, the most famous is Saina Nehwal, that has now become a household name. The gutsy 23-year-old Haryanvi girl, Saina Nehwal became the first Indian to win a medal in Badminton at the Olympics when she picked up the Bronze medal at the London Olympics. She is the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championships and was also the first Indian to win a Super Series tournament, by winning the Indonesia Open in June 2009. India ended its 2012 London Olympics feat with six medals that included four bronze and two silver.
Again, it were the women who brought more cheers than the men. Marykom, the mother of two, she won a bronze medal in boxing, a typical male field. She became the first woman boxer to be given India’s highest sports award –Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
Even in cricket, where Indian men have made other teams in the world wary, Indian skipper Mithali Raj is the World Number One in women’s One Day International batting rankings. Deepika Pallikal is the first Indian women to break into the top 10 in the Women’s Squash World Rankings. She won 3 WISPA tour titles in 2011 and achieved her careers’ best ranking of 13. Eventually, she improved her ranking to world number 10 in December last year.
She was runner up in the Tournament of Champions, 2012 and reached the semifinals of Australian Open 2012. She won her sixth WSA title by winning the Meadowood Pharmacy Open on February 2013. Her namesake, Deepika Kumari, another teen sensation, has stormed the Archery world.
Currently World Number Two, she was formerly world number one. Winner of gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in 2010, she qualified for the London Olympics and finished eighth in the Women’s team events.
Even unconventional fields like weightlifting have also seen women’s imprint. Sonia Chanu, 33-year-old from Imphal, stunned the nation as she walked away with silver medal in the 48 kg category during the Commonwealth Games in 2010.