Tokyo Olympics: India has highest ever women athletes in its contingent
As the Tokyo Olympics 2020 is yet to see its inauguration ceremony today, the world will watch the strength of the Indian contingent. With the Olympics beginning today and progressing till August 8th, a lot of eyes are on the Indian athletes who give huge hope to the country and its progress.
It is an undeniable fact that Sports holds a huge significance in a country’s progress as it has the power to change lives. By encouraging women to take up various sports, the Summer Olympics have benefited from seeing more gender diversity.
One such country which has benefited the most from the increased number of female athletes in India. During the 2000 Summer Olympic Games, India fielded just 19 female athletes, just under 30% of the total contingent.
The number of female athletes had consistently gone up till the 2012 London Olympics, before taking a huge leap at the Rio Olympics. At the Summer Games 2016, India fielded 54 female athletes, which was its highest representation.
In a historic moment for the country, India will now field 56 female athletes at Tokyo Olympics, making it the largest Indian female contingent at the Summer Games. This shows that the country is making true progress towards attaining gender diversity in the field of sports.
At the Rio Olympics 2016, India could only manage to win two medals, both of which were won by female athletes. PV Sindhu bagged a silver medal in Badminton, whereas Sakshi Malik returned home with a bronze medal in Wrestling.
From starting with 0 female athletes at the 1976 Summer Olympic Games, India has made huge progress in the sporting field. It is only a matter of time before India establishes itself as a sporting powerhouse.
Only women representation in these sports
Interestingly, there are a few sports where only female athletes will mark their representation. The sports include the likes of Gymnastics, Fencing, Judo, and Weightlifting. Mirabai Chanu will be India’s sole representative at Weightlifting during the Summer Olympic Games.
Nethra Kumanan scripted history as she became the first Indian female sailor at the Olympic Games. The Indian sailor won a World Cup Medal in Sailing, and she secured a spot for Tokyo through the Asia Olympic Qualifying event.
Bhavani Devi became the first Indian athlete to ever qualify for Fencing at the Summer Olympic Games. The 27-year-old will compete in the saber event, having previously won two Asian Championships medals. She is ranked 42nd globally, and it is a proud moment for the country to have representation in a sport not well-known in India.
Pranati Nayak has followed the footsteps of Dipa Karmakar as she represents India in Gymnastics. She is the sole Indian gymnast at Tokyo Olympics, as she competes in the women’s artistic event. The 26-year-old bagged a bronze medal at the Asian Championships in 2019, and she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after the cancellation of the 2021 Asian Championships.
Sushila Devi will be India’s lone participant in Judo at Tokyo Olympics. She qualified for the Olympics after earning a continental quota. She participates in the 48 kgn category and has a world ranking of 46. Her major achievements include a silver medal at Commonwealth Games 2014 and two Asian Open Championships.
India’s ‘Women power’ at Tokyo Olympics 2020 (Sport-Wise):
Archery — 1
Athletics — 9
Badminton — 1
Boxing — 4
Fencing — 1
Golf — 1
Gymnastics — 1
Hockey — 19
Judo — 1
Sailing — 1
Shooting — 7
Swimming — 1
Table Tennis — 2
Tennis — 2
Weightlifting — 1
Wrestling — 4
TEJASWINI PAGADALA is an independent communications consultant. She has previously worked with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office as the Communications Officer where she has written English speeches for the CM, managed English media communication from the CMO and handled social media accounts of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and the Government.