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Cricket, we love this sport so much, that many a times people have jokingly said that cricket should be re-named as the national game of India. Well, yes, there has been a time, rather a long duration, where an average India was so much interested in the game of cricket that he did not even know the name of the captain of the Indian hockey team, a game that has been our national game since decades. And for that, an average Indian hardly knew about any other games-except-cricket-that had Indian representation on an international level.

This scenario was not ages ago, it the scene of until just a decade ago. Things slowly started to change a decade back. Until then, it was just about the men’s Indian cricket team, Vishwanathan Anand and the start of Sania Mirza. Last 1 decade has seen a lot of others games come into the limelight, and a matter of pride is that, in many of those games, women have been the torch bearers and have played a very important role in bringing those games to the front page of the tabloids.

Not that, men have not contributed immensely, they too have, but in some of the games, we know the female players more than the male players. Badminton is a classic example here. Saina Nehwal has undoubtedly been the torch bearer for this game. Of course, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponappa, PV Sindhu etc are no less, but Saina and her achievements have been a primary reason for making the Indian presence felt in the international badminton circuit.

Having said this, it must also be known that the journey wasn’t easy for her. Besides belonging to a humble family she has somewhere also been facing gender issues. She went on record to state that her grandmother did not came to see her when she was born, because she is a girl.

Journey of Sania Mirza and the world boxing champing Mary Kom hasn’t been easy either. But these girls, went out of their way, faced challenges bravely and brought glory to the country. Today, there are some games that we by-default co-relate to the names of some of its female players.

For a country like India, where a large number of young girls stay in restrictive environments, this is indeed a big change and maybe a beginning to an era that we wish to see.

These girls took up sports that hardly had any fan following in the country, that too at a time when India did not really had a world-class female player to boast of, yet, they took up the challenge, conquered the world, made their mark and some of them, continue to do so. 

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– Rupali Tyagi.

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