We bring you the top 10 incredible female athletes from India who won laurels throughout their life and made India proud. Let’s celebrate the greatness of these athletes not just for today but everyday!
P. T. Usha
Known as the queen of Indian track and field, she put Indian athletics into the limelight in the early 80’s. She won a number of medals at the Asian Games which included four gold medals in the same edition in 1982 Seoul games in 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles and 4 X 400m relay.
She has been awarded by Arjuna award and Padma Shri for her outstanding achievement in running.
A middle distance runner, She bagged gold in 800m event at the Asian Athletics Championship (1995), bronze medals in both 800m and 1500m in next edition, 1998.
For her contribution to Indian athletics, she was awarded by Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Padma Shri.
Shiny Abraham Wilson
A National Champion in 800 metres for 14 years, Shiny Abraham represented India more than 75 times in international competition. She holds the added distinction of representing Asia in four World Cups, She is also perhaps the only athlete to have taken part in six Asian Track & Field Meets in a row beginning 1985 in Jakarta. During this period she won seven gold, five silver and two bronze medals in the Asiad competitions. She collected a total or 18 gold and two silver medals from the seven South Asian Federation (SAF) Meets she has competed.
She received Arjuna award in 1984 and Padma Shri award in 1998 for her outstanding achievements in sports.
Anju Bobby George
First Indian athlete to win a medal at the 2003 World Championships in Athletics when she clinched bronze in long jump at Paris in 2003. She later went on to win gold at the IAAF World Athletics final in 2005. Anju won gold in the 2002 Busan Asian Games but had to settle for silver in the next edition in Doha.
She was awarded Arjuna award in 2002 and Padma Shri in 2004.
K. M. Beenamol
During 2000 Summer Olympics, Beenamol became the third Indian woman to reach an Olympic semi-final since P. T. Usha and Shiny Abraham. She won the gold medal in women’s 800m and the 4 × 400 m women’s relay in the 2002 Asian Games held at Busan.
Beenamol was conferred Arjuna Award in 2000, Joint Winner of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2002-03 and Padma Shri in 2004 for her exemplary achievement in her athletic career.
Nisha represented India at the 1998 Asian Games (Thailand), World Championships (Perth 1999, Indianapolis 2004) and won medals for the country at both the Afro-Asian Games and SAF Games.
Only Indian athlete to win 14 gold medals at the National Games in 1999. At the peak of her career, Nisha represented India at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in the 200m freestyle.
She was presented Arjuna Award in 2002 for her achievements in swimming.
A Champion swimmer from Bangalore with 146 National and 36 International medals to her name. At the age of 13, Shikha competed at the Asian Games and was the only swimmer representing India at the 2004 Athens Olympic. At her prime in 2005, she held seven national records simultaneously, the first by any Indian women.
She was also conferred the Arjuna Award in 2005 for her outstanding achievement in swimming.
Herold won two gold medals at the Herald Track Asia Cup, 2014 in the 500-meter time trial and the team sprint. In October 2015, she won five medals at the Taiwan Cup Track International Classic, then 3 medals at the Track India Cup.
She is the first Indian cyclist in the UCI rankings of a discipline – the 500m time trial – and is ranked fourth in the world for the 500m time trial event.
J. J. Shobha
Shobha participated in the heptathlon and was the winner of the event at the inaugural Afro-Asian Games in 2003. She completed the seven-discipline heptathlon event in 2004 Olympic Games at Athens despite being injured in the penultimate event of Javelin throw. She finished 3rd in the final event (800 m) and 11th overall. A fully fit Shobha placed 29th in the heptathlon event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
She was awarded the Arjuna award for the year 2004 for her gritty performance.
She is the first India-based athlete to participate in Ironman Triathlon. She has competed all over the globe in Ironman distance events and long-course triathlons culminating in Ultraman Canada in 2009 (Placed 6th amongst women), followed by a finish at Ironman Canada three weeks after Ultraman.
Vaidyanathan was the first Indian woman to have qualified for the Half Ironman 70.3 Clearwater World Championship in 2008.