While the whole media is caught up in golden girl P V Sindhu’s silver medal and super gymnast Dipa Karmakar’s return to India, I also wanted to remember the first girl who started it all.. Lalita Babar. I saw her run in the 3000m steeplechase heats and told Krishnan that for the first time, I am seeing such effortless running and that hopefully she gets a medal. She didn’t, but she was in the finals. She is a farmer’s daughter and her family has struggled with droughts for many years… her spirit grew stronger as the challenges mounted and now suddenly everyone in her village wants their daughters to run, jump and become athletes. What an amazing impact this champion has had !. While some folks ranted about her “poor” showing in the finals of the 3000m steeplechase, the same folks must think what they would have done with her upbringing…. found well paying jobs and earned enough to never see a drought again. What she has managed to achieve with little to no support for athletics in India is commendable. As is the achievement of the other young girls.
Pandav Gadhadhari Bheem must be smiling ear to ear in heaven as he sees Sakshi Malik wrestling her way to a Bronze…This girl may look tiny in front of the big Bheem, but she can wrestle and how. Coming from the state of Haryana that has a notorious bias against women, her achievement is even more commendable. Throw a woman into a corner, her back to the wall and then see how she kicks and fights her way outta there ! Bheem bhaiyya, stay up in heaven, your little sis is filling in well for you.
Pandav Arjuna would have been proud of Deepika Kumari even if she didn’t win a medal this time… she is world No. 5 and formerly No. 1..And her background ? This is copied from Wikipedia – “Deepika Kumari was born to Shivnarayan Mahato, an auto-rickshaw driver and Geeta Mahato, a nurse at Ranchi Medical College. Her parents live at Ratu Chati village, 15 km away from Ranchi. As a child, she practised archery while aiming for mangoes with stones. In the early days it was rather difficult for the parents to financially support Deepika’s dream, often compromising on the family budget to buy her new equipment for her training; as a result, Deepika practised archery using homemade bamboo bows and arrows. Deepika’s cousin Vidya Kumari, then an archer residing at Tata Archery Academy, helped her develop her talent.”
Dipa Karmakar, the produnova girl, and a true champion apologised to all of us for missing out on a medal … hey, you are the first Indian girl to get into the finals in an olympics gymnastics event and we should be saying sorry that we didn’t create any infrastructure for you to even train! And many of us don’t know the state you belong to, Tripura. So kudos to you for overcoming your flat feet, landing the produnova and putting India and your state Tripura on the map. The medals will come.
The golden girl PV Sindhu endured a gruelling schedule and played like a champ against the world No. 1 to win the silver. Well, she is golden for us, the silver in her medal hasn’t registered with us. While we celebrate her victory, our first golden girl is Saina Nehwal, twitter trolls be damned. That champ is undergoing a knee surgery to fix an injury otherwise, she would have been up there on the podium like Sindhu with the tricolour in her hands. Thats a champion through and through – in the top 10 ranking since 2009.
Not to forget our tennis queen Sania Mirza, putting us on the women’s tennis map. Winning a medal is not all there is, giving hope and inspiring a whole generation is much bigger. Another little girl inspired by you will win the medal another time!
I have a question for Ms. Shobha De – did you know the spelling of Golf when you were 5.5 years old ? And today when the decimal has moved to the right by a couple of spots as far as your age is concerned, do you know the difference between a golf ball and a badminton ball ? While Ms. De mulls over those questions and gets help from some of her friends with lesser botox in their brains than her, Aditi Ashok hopefully gets closer to a medal or wins one at the olympics. Aditi is just 18 years old and started playing golf when she was 5 and a half (5.5, with the decimal point in the middle)!! She is the youngest contestant in the game. And her dad is her caddy… what more support does one need than having your dad with you. Go Aditi, get us a medal, and a big congratulations for being in the finals.
Girls, you did us proud, inspite of us letting you down by killing some of your sisters in the womb, by telling you “girls don’t jump, run and wrestle”, by sisters and grandmothers like Ms.De taking cheap potshots, by not even building a toilet for you in schools, by asking you to be conservative, by limiting you at every stage ….
Brothers, husbands, fathers, uncles and “boy” friends who have supported these young girls to fly high – our respect and deep bow to you. You are the wind beneath their wings and thank you for being that.
Ms. De, the “other” men and their ilk – sulk in the shadows, because your time is up. Jai Hind.