Undoubtedly, Rio has been the most talked about Olympics till date for Indian Media, contingent ambassadors, ministers, certain columnists and fans. From the lead up to Rio ranging from sending the largest contingent in Indian sporting history to off-the-court bitter controversies, the sporting extravaganza rightfully stayed in the limelight, though for reasons contrary.
Something that caught most of our attention would be the sudden change of fate. How beautiful is the turn of fortunes towards the end of the quest? With the best medal bets, decoded and analyzed by critics and experts, bowing out early in the game and India’s medal hopes dwindling, is when the saviors in disguise came to save the deterring pride- A five-feet gymnast breaking stereotypes, brave-hearts wrestling it out in bout long dominated by men, young golfer opening up new avenues and a history-making shuttler proving there is more to a sport than just a few names.
All of the above have, however, turned out to be women in their respective sports, Dipa Karmakar in Gymnastics, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Babita Kumari in Wrestling, Aditi Ashok in Golf and PV Sindhu in Badminton.
In a country of 2 billion, wherein cases of female foeticide, honor killing, early marriage and many more new-age misogynistic jargons to describe the same old traditions still prevail, it comes as a sweet reminder to what a woman, who is raised to chase and follow her dreams, can do.
For many Indians who refused to see beyond Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna, these women got their names not just heard but cheered the loudest by proving their worth and contribution to the sport. They have made a name for themselves which will forever be ingrained and be taken before anybody else’s with every mention of the game.
Previous women Olympic medalists are- Karnam Malleswari in Weightlifting at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Saina Nehwal in Badminton and Mary Kom in Boxing at 2012 London Olympics. The newest addition to this list is Sakshi Malik in Women’s wrestling in the ongoing Rio Olympics. All four medals are Bronze but even this will be taken a level higher today by PV Sindhu, who will be seen in action to clinch the first ever Olympic Gold Medal by any Indian in Badminton.
By the looks of it, if the India superwomen continue their dominant sting in the game, it won’t be long until we see the Indian flag being swayed by a woman athlete in the next Olympics. Now, that is some women empowerment!