10 amazing South Indian sportswomen who have made their mark by making India proud
It’s really very difficult to imagine sports as a career option when you’re a woman yet some incredible women have made their mark in this field and achieved their childhood dreams.
Studies show that women who are active in sports have higher levels of confidence, a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well-being than those who are not active.
Let’s look at some of the most amazing south Indian sportswomen who have proven this and made India proud with their stunning achievements.
Sania Mirza was born on 15 November 1986 in Mumbai to Hyderabadi Muslim parents. She began playing tennis at the age of six and turned into a professional in 2003. In 2006, she became the first female from India to be seeded at a Grand Slam and is the highest-ranked female player ever from India who has won 14 medals. In 2016, she became world no. 1 in ATP Women’s Doubles Tennis rankings. She was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2004, the Padma Shri in 2006, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2015 and the Padma Bhushan a year later.
P.T. Usha was born in the village of Payyoli, Kozhikode district, Kerala. She is a great Indian athlete and is regarded as the Queen of Indian track and field. She represented India in the Moscow Olympics in 1980. She won her first gold medal in the Asian Track and Field Championship, in Kuwait. She was awarded the Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri in 1985.
Karnam Malleswari was born in Voosavanipeta, a hamlet in Andhra Pradesh. She started her career at a very young age of 12 and is the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Olympics in weightlifting. She was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1995 and the Padma Shri in 1999.
Ashwini Ponnappa was born on 18 September 1989 in Bangalore. She represents India at the international badminton circuit in both the women’s and mixed doubles disciplines. In the 2010 Commonwealth Games, she won the gold medal in Women’s Doubles event pairing with Jwala Gutta and made history by winning the first gold medal for India in the event.
Dipika Pallikal was born in Chennai to a Malayali family. She is an Indian professional squash player. She turned professional in 2006 and in 2012, she became the first Indian ever to reach the summit clash of a Silver event when she reached the final of the Tournament of Champions squash meet in New York. She became the first female squash player to be conferred with the Arjuna Award. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2014.
Mithali Raj was born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan on 3 December 1982. She is from a Tamil family. She started playing cricket at the age of 10 and at the age of 17, she was picked for the Indian team. She is the captain of the Indian women’s cricket team. She was the No.1 cricketer in the ODI chart among women at the 2013 Women’s World Cup. She was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2003 and the Padma Shri in 2015.
Humpy Koneru was born on 31 March 1987 in Gudivada, Andhra Pradesh. She is an Indian chess grandmaster and is the youngest woman to achieve the title of grandmaster at the age of 15. She won three gold medals at the World Youth Chess Championship. She won the 10th Asian Women’s Indian Championship in 2003. She won the British Women’s Championship in 2000 and 2002. She was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2003 and the Padma Shri in 2007.
P.V. Sindhu was born in Hyderabad and is an Indian professional badminton player. She is the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal. She came to international attention when she broke into the top 20 of the BWF World Ranking in September 2012 at the age of 17. She is among the top five shuttlers in women’s singles category.
9. Jwala Gutta.
Jwala Gutta was born on 7 September 1983 in Maharashtra to a Telugu father and a Chinese mother. She is the most successful doubles specialist from India and is the first badminton player of India to qualify for two events in the Olympics. Gutta has won medals at all major international badminton tournaments and multi-sport events. She has been listed several times among the topmost inspiring sportswomen of India. She was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2011.
Joshna Chinappa was born on 15 September 1986 in Chennai. She is an Indian professional squash player. She is the first Indian to win the British Squash Championship title in 2003 in the under 19 category. Chinappa along with Dipika Pallikal won the squash women’s doubles gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, making it India’s first ever Commonwealth Games medal in the sport.