India has a rich history of competing in sports, and there are some famous women making competition so exciting. Their strong belief in dreams and never-failing-attitude have made them capable of leaving a trail for others. Below are some of the best Indian female athletes in the world, and many of them have represented India in the Olympics.
PT Usha is a retired Indian track and field athlete. She has been associated with Indian athletics since 1979. She is often called the ‘queen of Indian track and field’. Usha’s best moment came at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. In the 1985 Jakarta Asian Championships, Usha won six medals – five gold and one bronze. She set a record in the process for most gold medals won at a single event in the history of the championships. Usha has won 101 international medals. She is employed as an officer in the Southern Railways. In 1984, she was conferred the Padma Shri and the Arjuna Award. Currently, she coaches young athletes at her training academy in Kerala.
Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte, better known as Mary Kom, is an Indian Olympic boxer from Manipur. She is the only woman to become World Amateur Boxing champion for a record six times, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the seven world championships. Nicknamed Magnificent Mary, she is the only Indian woman boxer to have qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics, competing in the flyweight (51 kg) category and winning the bronze medal. She had also been ranked as No. 1 AIBA World Women’s Ranking Light Flyweight category. She became the first Indian woman boxer to get a Gold Medal in the Asian Games in 2014 at Incheon, South Korea and is the first Indian woman boxer to win gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Mary Kom won the Gold Medal In Asian Boxing Championship. She defeated Kim Hyang-mi of North Korea in the title match. Kom is an animal rights activist and supporter of PETA India.
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is an Indian professional badminton player. She became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal, and one of the two Indian badminton players to ever win an Olympic medal – the other being Saina Nehwal. Sindhu won silver in Women’s singles at Commonwealth Games 2018. She was also a silver medalist at the 2017 BWF World Championships and 2018 BWF World Championships consecutively. She was also a silver medalist in Asian Games 2018, which were held in Indonesia. Sindhu came to international attention when she broke into the top 20 of the BWF World Ranking in September 2012 at the age of 17. In 2013, she became the first ever Indian women’s singles player to win a medal at the Badminton World Championships. In March 2015, she is the recipient of India’s fourth highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri. She is among the top five shuttlers in women’s singles category. In 2018, she became the first Indian to have clinched the World Tour title defeating Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in the 2018 World Tour final.
Sania Mirza is an Indian professional tennis player. A former world No 1 in the doubles discipline, she has won six Grand Slam titles in her career. From 2003 until her retirement from singles in 2013, she was ranked by the WTA as India’s No 1 player in both the categories. Throughout her career, Sania has established herself as the most successful female Indian tennis player ever and one of the highest-paid and high-profile athletes in the country. She is the highest-ranked female player ever from India, peaking at world No. 27 in singles in mid-2007. In addition, she is the third Indian woman in the Open Era to feature and win a round at a Grand Slam tournament, and the first to reach the second week. She has also won a total of 14 medals (including 6 gold) at three major multi-sport events, namely the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Afro-Asian Games. Mirza was named one of the ’50 Heroes of Asia’ by Time in October 2005. In March 2010, The Economic Times named Sania in the list of the ’33 women who made India proud”. She was appointed as the UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia during the event held to mark the International Day To End Violence Against Women on 25 November 2013. She was named in Time magazine’s 2016 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Saina Nehwal is an Indian professional badminton singles player. A former world No 1, she has won over 24 international titles, which include eleven Superseries titles. Although she reached the world’s 2nd in 2009, it was only in 2015 that she was able to attain the world No 1 ranking, thereby becoming the only female player from India and overall the second Indian player – after Prakash Padukone – to achieve this feat. She has represented India three times in the Olympics, winning a bronze medal in her second appearance. She is the only Indian to have won at least one medal in every BWF major individual event, namely the Olympics, the BWF World Championships, and the BWF World Junior Championships. She is the first Indian badminton player to have won an Olympic medal, along with being the only Indian to have won the BWF World Junior Championships or to have reached to the final of the BWF World Championships. In 2006, Nehwal became the first Indian female and the youngest Asian to win a 4-star tournament. Considered one of the most successful Indian sportspersons, she is credited for increasing the popularity of badminton in India. In 2016, the Government of India (GoI) conferred the Padma Bhushan – India’s third highest civilian award – on her. Previously, the nation’s top two sporting honours, namely the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Arjuna Award, were also conferred on her by the Government of India. Nehwal is a philanthropist and was ranked 18th on the list of most charitable athletes.