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A salute to Indian sportswomen on International Women's Day
On International Women's Day, we should remember the glorious contributions made by Indian women in..

EVERY YEAR on March 8, countries across the world celebrate International Women's Day to celebrate women’s achievements in all walks of life and salute them for their contributions towards family, society, nation and the world. The International Women's Day is also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.


There is a countless list of Indian women achievers in different categories such as social service, politics, business, entertainment, sports, and the service sector, etc., and it is our duty to pay our respect to them for their valuable contributions.

On International Women's Day, I like to remember five women whose achievements in sports are a matter of pride for every Indian and forever. They include PT Usha - queen of Indian track and field, Bachendri Pal - the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest, Sania Mirza - the first ever Indian to break into the top 30 WTA rankings in Tennis singles, Saina Nehwal - the first Indian woman to reach the singles quarterfinals at the Olympics and Mary Kom - a five-time World Boxing Champion.

PT Usha, who was popular as Payyoli Express and Golden Girl, missed the chance of bronze medal by 1/100th of a second at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. PT Usha, who was conferred the Padma Shri and the Arjuna award in 1985, won four gold and a silver medal in the track and field events in the Seoul Asian Games in 1986 and created new Asian Games records in all the events she participated. During her career, she won 102 medals at national and international meets.

Indian mountaineer Bachendri Pal is the first Indian woman and the fifth in the world to climb the summit of Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. Bachendri Pal also led an all-women Indo-Nepalese Everest Expedition team in 1985 and created seven world records. In 1994, Bachendri led an all-women team of rafters from Haridwar to Kolkata covering 2,500 Km. She has been conferred with Padma Shri Award and Arjuna Award and listed in Guinness Book of World Records in 1990.

Sania Mirza, the 2003 Wimbledon Girls' Doubles winner in junior category, is the first ever Indian women to win a WTA title and the first ever Indian to break into the top 30 WTA rankings in singles. In the 2009 Australian Open, Sania Mirza won the mixed double title with her Indian partner Mahesh Bhupati. In the Australian Open in 2008 and the women's doubles event at 2011 Roland Garros, she was the runner-up and in the 2010 Asian Games, won bronze medal in the single event. In 2004, Sania was awarded the Arjuna award and in 2006, honoured with the Padma Shri.

The top-ranked women player in Indian Badminton history and the first Indian who won the World Junior Badminton Championships, Saina Nehwal is currently world ranked four women's single player. She is also the first Indian to win a Super Series tournament, by clinching the Indonesia Open in 2009. In 2010 Commonwealth game, Sania Nehwal won gold medal. In her career, she has won many titles and in 2008 Olympics, she reached the quarter finals. In January 2010, Saina became the recipient of Padma Shri award and in the same year won the highest sports award of the country, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.

The only boxer to win a medal in each one of the six World Championships, Mary Kom has been crowned World Boxing Champion five times - and to think that Indian women are not strong. Out of her five Gold medals in the World Boxing Championship, she won four medals in 46 kg category in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008 and in the last one in 48 kg category in 2010. In the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, she won bronze medal. She won Padma Shree award in 2006 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2007.


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