Indian women have been as successful as their male counterpart in bringing laurels to the nation by winning medals at international sports meets over the last 70 years of independence.
But as a keen follower of Indian sports, I won’t be wrong in my assessment that most of the golden moments have come by way of stellar individual performance in World Championships or Olympics.
It was undoubtedly PT Usha who reigned as the queen of Asian Athletics in the 80s with her sheer dominance at the Asian meets. The power packed Kunjarani Devi and Karnam Malleshwari ruled women’s weightlifting all through the 90s.
With the turn of the century, ace shuttlers Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu made India a powerhouse in women’s badminton. MC Marykom was the undisputed boxing champ of the world in her weight category for almost two decades.
Add to this illustrious list the likes of Sania Mirza, Aparna Popat, Koneru Humpy, Tania Sachdev, Anju Bobby George, Anjali Vedhpathak, Deepika Pallikal, Sakshi Malik and Deepa Karmakar to name a few who all have been athletes of world class pedigree in their respective sports.
However, when we talk about Indian women in team sports there is very little to write home about.
All that could change as the Mithali Raj ‘Women in Blue’ take on hosts England in the ICC Women’s World Cup at historic Lord’s cricket ground in London. No Indian women’s team has ever won a World Championship or World Cup, the premier or most coveted silverware in any international sport.
The best performance by an Indian women’s team has been the cricket team reaching the finals of the 2005 ICC World Cup. There have been some other notable performances like the women’s hockey team clinching gold at the 1982 Asian Games and 2002 Commonwealth games.
So there is a lot to play for in the finals against England as a win in the title clash would be the first ever World Cup won by an Indian women’s team.
It certainly could be history in the making for Mithali Raj and her Blue Brigade as a victory in the finals shall etch their names forever in the golden annals of Indian sports.