India’s Olympic hopes largely rest on the shoulders of several extremely talented women. These women are not only experts in their field, but they are also trailblazers for women’s athletics in India.
At 30 years old, Krishna Poonia is looking to capture an Olympic gold medal in the discus throw. She broke out onto the international seen in 2006 and entered the Beijing Olympics as a medal contender but failed to make the finals. The mother of a ten-year-old son, Poonia is looking forward to settling down and spending time with her son after these Olympics. However, Poonia admits that her son is one of her most avid fans. Poonia made history by becoming India’s first female athlete to win the discus throw at a major international tournament history when she won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Ranked fifth in the world, Saina Nehwal is determined to give the Chinese, historically the best at badminton, a run for their money. Four years ago, she became the first Indian woman to make to the quarterfinals of an individual event at the Olympics. Nehwal, who treats herself to ice cream and a shopping spree after a win, hopes to make it all the way to the finals this time around.
As of June, Deepika Kumari is ranked number one in the world in archery. She is the first Indian archer to ever attain this title. The fact that she is only eighteen years old makes the feat even more impressive. She first discovered her knack for archery by shooting mangoes off of local trees with self-made bamboo bows and arrows. Now, Kumari is heading to her first Olympics as a medal contender.
M.C. Mary Kom
Most children can’t say that their mother is a world champion boxer. However, that is not the case for the twin boys of M.C. Mary Kom. The five-time world boxing champion is the only woman boxer heading to the London Olympics for India. Kom was named the 38th most marketable athlete by SportsPro and is the first woman to achieve the honorary rank of lieutenant colonel in the Territorial Army. Kom has her sight set on Olympic gold and plans to fight her way there.