On the International Women’s Day, we celebrate the women who have excelled in sports and have made individual names for themselves to carve a status and inspire millions to succeed with their heads held high.
From defence services to sports, women have excelled in every department and have worked their way through smashing patriarchy and leaving inspirational legacies behind.
‘If women were incapable of serving in the armed forces, they would not have made so much progress’
Indian Air Force (IAF) wing commander Shaliza Dhami said on 7 March if women were incapable of serving in the armed forces, they would not have made so much progress. “I have put in more than 17 years of service and there are so many others like me,” she said.
A day before International Women’s Day on 8 March, Dhami ruled out gender bias and expressed confidence in one’s skills. “It will be almost three decades for women officers in IAF. Aircraft doesn’t know whether it’s a male or female officer who is flying it. It is the journey to sit in the aircraft that says everything — whether we will be able to do it or not,” she said.
Her statement comes months after the controversy over actor Janhvi Kapoor starrer ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl.’ Delhi High Court had in October last year refused to pass any interim order to restrain the streaming of the film based on allegations by the Centre that the Netflix film depicts the IAF in poor light and dents its image.
In recent years, many women have been seen performing leading roles in the defence sector. In January, flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth became the first woman fighter pilot to take part in the Republic Day parade. She was part of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) tableau that displayed mock-ups of the light combat aircraft, light combat helicopter and the Sukhoi-30 fighter plane.
Kanth had joined the fighter squadron in November 2017 and flew the first solo on MiG-21 Bison in March 2018. At present, she is posted at an airbase in Rajasthan where she flies the MiG-21 Bison fighter plane.
During the Budget Session in Parliament last month, the government informed that the headcount of women in the military has increased almost three-fold over the last six years. There are 9,118 women currently serving the army, navy and air force, with the services giving them more opportunities to boost career progression, the government said.
Indian women sports personalities
Mithali Raj: At the age of 38, Mithali Raj is still going strong, which only goes to prove that age is just a number. The former India Women’s Cricket Team captain has defied all odds and have carved a niche in the field of cricket. Ranked highly amongst the most respected cricketers in India, Mithali was the first woman cricketer to reach 6,000 runs. She was also instrumental in creating history by leading India to the Women’s World Cup finals in 2017. It only goes to prove that hard work pays off and that cricket is no longer just a gentleman’s sport.
Mary Kom: Boxing is one of the toughest physical contact sports out there and only a few get to make it to the grandest stage. Well, Mary Kom is the only female to become the World Amateur Boxing Champion, six times. Apart from being a World Champion on multiple occasions and placing India on top of the charts in boxing, Mary Kom is a true inspiration to all. Hard work, perseverance, dedication, passion and commitment are the key ingredients to Mary Kom’s success, making her a legend in the sport.
Mother of two rappels down 155-feet mountain blindfolded in record 58 seconds
A 32-year-old-woman and mother of two daughters made a world record by rappelling down blindfolded from a 155-feet mountain in 58 seconds.
Selvi at the age of 32 rappelled down blindfolded from a 155 feet high rock mountain at Malaipattu village in Sriperumbudur Taluk of Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu.
Muthamil Selvi said, “Being an Indian woman and mother of two daughters, I wanted to achieve something. When I stood at a height of 155 feet, I just closed my eyes and imagined about the women in our society. Thus slowly, gathering courage, I triumphed over the struggle and achieved this world record.”
She said, “All women are potentially capable of doing anything and everything. Men need to support them. Let all women shine in the world and all men support them in their lives.
The record was entered in the UNICO Book of World Records and was certified by an official adjudicator R. Sivaraman.
PV Sindhu: The first Indian player to win an Olympic silver medal. Period. Abhinav Bindra’s 2008 gold medal is historic and adding the only silver to India’s tally in Olympic medals, is Pusarla Venkata (PV) Sindhu. Athletic, strong minded and focused, PV Sindhu has come a long way since 2009 and has climbed the top of the ladder through hard work and dedication. She is also the second international player to have won over five medals at the World Badminton Championships. In her achievements, PV Sindhu is a recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri Award, Padma Bhushan and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. Other than the awards, Sindhu also made her way into the Forbes Highest-Paid Female Athletes.
There is no shortage of inspiration and stories for making it to the top by starting from the bottom. As legacies are left for all to learn from, here’s wishing all women a Happy International’s Day.