Girls ON TOP

Nikhila Pai cel­e­brates the highs of In­dia’s sportswomen at the 2018 Asian Games.

Savvy - - Savvy Womaniya -

In­dia’s per­for­mance

at the 2018 Asian Games has been its best ever. Our haul in­cluded a whop­ping 69 medals, which com­prised 15 golds, 24 sil­vers and 30 bronze. Play­ing a huge part in putting that proud smile on our faces, were our sportswomen. The coun­try’s girl-power packed a solid wal­lop, as they did us par­tic­u­larly proud, bat­tling the odds to reach where they did.

Take Swapna Bar­man, hail­ing from a small town in North Ben­gal, who won im­mense re­spect for her feats. De­spite com­pet­ing with a se­vere toothache and run­ning with a ban­daged jaw, Swapna, who has six toes on both her feet, man­aged to com­plete seven events and bring In­dia our first-ever Asian Games gold medal in hep­tathlon.

Our youngest sprint sen­sa­tion Hima Das cov­ered her­self and the coun­try in glory. She broke a 14-yearold na­tional 400m record in the qual­i­fy­ing heats, fol­low­ing it up with a silver in the fi­nals. In­ci­den­tally, Hima is ac­tu­ally a 200m spe­cial­ist and it was only this March that she had com­peted in the 400m event for the first time. Hima was also part of the team that clinched gold in the 4x400m re­lay on the fi­nal day of the ath­let­ics pro­gramme. She gave the lead on the first lap with a stun­ning run, which the rest of the girls con­sol­i­dated, leav­ing their op­po­nents far be­hind.

Du­tee Chand brought tears to many eyes as she found vin­di­ca­tion - the Odia sprinter won silver in the 100m fi­nals clock­ing 11.32 sec­onds. We can­not for­get that four years ago,

Our youngest sprint sen­sa­tion Hima Das cov­ered her­self and the coun­try in glory. She was also part of the team that clinched gold in the 4x400m re­lay. She gave the lead on the first lap with a stun­ning run, which the rest of the girls con­sol­i­dated, leav­ing their op­po­nents far be­hind.

af­ter be­ing se­lected to make her CWG and Asian Games de­but, Du­tee had been dropped from both teams be­cause the In­dian Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tion had ruled that she could not com­pete against her fel­low women be­cause of a med­i­cal con­di­tion called hy­per­an­dro­genism – which gen­er­ated high male hor­mones in her body. Al­lowed to nei­ther com­pete nor train, as well as shamed for a con­di­tion that was not her fault, Du­tee nev­er­the­less dug her heels in and re­turned to re­claim her glory.

Things did not bode well ini­tially for the women’s kurash team, who had to even pay for their Asian Games kit them­selves. A vil­lage came to­gether to raise money for their daugh­ter, Pincky Bal­hara, who well re­paid it with the silver she brought home in this sport, a form of wrestling indige­nous to Cen­tral Asia. Our girl Malaprabha Jad­hav won bronze in kurash, which was mak­ing its de­but at the Asian Games.

The 23-year-old wrestler Vi­nesh Phogat, cousin of fa­mous wrestling sis­ters Geeta and Babita Phogat, clinched the gold medal with her win in the sum­mit clash of the 50kg freestyle wrestling cat­e­gory. She beat the com­pe­ti­tion com­pris­ing world and Olympic medal­lists, to be­come the first In­dian wo­man to win an Asian Games gold.

Rahi Sarnobat be­came the first In­dian wo­man shooter to win a gold at the Asian Games, a feat she achieved af­ter the nerve-wrack­ing 25m air pis­tol fi­nals. She over­came a ca­reer-threat­en­ing el­bow in­jury to win glory. Bad­minton star PV Sindhu be­came the first-ever In­dian to reach an Asian Games fi­nal, as she won silver, even as com­pa­triot Saina Ne­hwal seized bronze.

De­spite com­pet­ing with a se­vere toothache and run­ning with a ban­daged jaw, Swapna Bar­man, who has six toes on both her feet, man­aged to com­plete seven events and bring In­dia our first-ever Asian Games gold medal in hep­tathlon.

The In­dian women’s team won silver in com­pound archery, beat­ing Philip­pines and Chi­nese Taipei be­fore con­ced­ing to South Korea. Sim­i­larly, the In­dian women’s hockey team did not only reach their first fi­nal in 20 years, but they also came home re­flect­ing the glow of the silver they clinched in the fi­nals against Ja­pan. The In­dian women’s team also bagged silver in kabaddi at the Games. The women’s squash team also brought home their cache of silver, adding to the grow­ing pile of riches and re­spect.

Along the way, they also proved that age is no bar to win­ning. Harshita To­mar, all of 16, be­came In­dia’s sec­ond youngest medal­list at the Asian Games, win­ning bronze in sail­ing in a mixed event where the top five fin­ish­ers, be­sides her, were all boys… howzat!!

All wishes now for our champs for the up­com­ing Olympics 2020 in Ja­pan. Go, make us proud!

Du­tee Chand brought tears to many eyes as she found vin­di­ca­tion - the Odia sprinter won silver in the 100m fi­nals. We can­not for­get that four years ago, Du­tee had been dropped be­cause the In­dian Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tion had ruled that she could not com­pete against her fel­low women be­cause of a med­i­cal con­di­tion called hy­per­an­dro­genism – which gen­er­ated high male hor­mones in her body.

Asian Games 2018 4x400m re­lay team

PV Sindhu and Saina Ne­hwal

Hima Das

Malaprabha Jad­hav

Pincky Bal­hara

Vi­nesh Phogat

Swapna Bar­man

Rahi Sarnobat

Du­tee Chand

Harshita to­mar

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.