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Top 30 Greatest Women in Sports in India: The stories of struggle, grit & success

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A Revolutionized approach of women in sports

Women are the backbone of not only a family but the entire society. They are great achievers who play a major role in empowering society. Women not only in India but worldwide are underestimated and their capabilities are undermined in comparison to men yet they seek a way out to outshine men. They are mere watchers who are humiliated in different domains of the profession and are not allowed to pursue their dreams and career. Several women in sports in India have tried to break free from the shackles of discrimination, social deprivation, and cultural biases to establish a promising careers for themselves. In this blog, we will look at the role of women in sports in India and the inspiring stories of female athletes.

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Female athletes have occupied an esteemed place in society by acquiring numerous roles other than being just a mother. Their hard work and passion to prove themselves have helped them attain respect and they are finally acknowledged and appreciated. The mindset of people has revolutionized and they have started considering women as admirable beings who inspire the rest of the world to become the best. Perhaps, the phenomenal growth of women is a remarkable outcome of their dedication and desires. 

The Legendary Women in Sports in India

women in sports in india | female athletes - KreedOn

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Sport is a field that unites every person worldwide including women in sports. There are several phenomenal women athletes that are admired and have inspired the young generation to step forward and live their dreams. When it comes to sports for women, things are not very easy for them and they have to undergo hardships to rise above men. Even though men are more celebrated and paid higher in comparison to women yet female athletes seek their way out of all the challenges through their dedication and hard work. 

Women have fought their way out and are at present being credited for their outstanding performance at different sports platforms. They surpass all the obstacles and it does not kill their spirit as they are the ultimate game-changers. Several players like Sania Mirza, Mary Kom, Mithali Raj, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Rani Ramphal, and others have made the nation proud with their glorious victories in different sports domains. They have transcended the dominated sphere of sports that was only limited to men. Female athletes in India are constantly rising in number and they are equally unrivaled and undefeatable, for instance, more capable than men in not only sports but all domains of life. 

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History of Women in Sports in India

Indian women sports history - KreedOn

The history of women’s sports can be dated back to the 19th century as upper-class women were actively involved in playing games that emerged towards the end of the 19th century like horseback riding, archery, skiing, tennis, golf, skating, etc. Women participated in the modern Olympic games for the first time during the second game of the Olympics in 1900 and only free male Greek citizens were allowed to participate in the first modern Olympic Games as well as ancient Olympic games. Moreover, women could only participate in sports events that were considered “feminine sports” and are known as women’s sports events.

The Olympic game and their decisions were operated and dominated by men who considered women as vulnerable beings and not suitable for all the games. Only 12 women participated in the second Olympic games out of 1066 athletes from 19 countries. Sports is a universally shared human culture that has changed the mindset of people over time and their lifestyles as well. It was the mere beginning of the evolution of women’s sports. The facilities and opportunities provided to different genders also differ. 

Challenges Faced by Females in Sports in India

 female athletes | women in sports | KreedOn
Image Source: Human Right Watch

Gender equality is one of the major concerns of Indian society and it is now being looked after by several authorities and women as well. Women are made to face the consequences of buoyant sexism and they are judged in all aspects of life. Women have now excelled and endorsed in their lives. The sports industry has seen an upsurge in the number of women athletes. The first and foremost challenge faced by women in sports is the dip in their pay scale as women athletes are paid either less or half what is paid to their male counterparts. There is a huge discrepancy between the male and female incomes and so is the case with prize money.

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Women are also commodified on and off the field. They are not seen as entities of potential and talent. Even successful and accomplished athletes are scrutinized by the crowds. The stable income of female athletes seems bleak and there is the uncertainty of job security. It leaves no choice for women to take another job for additional income. Despite all these challenges, female athletes are striving to achieve excellence in life and are making history. 

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30 Famous Women in Sports in India | Female Athletes

S.N Famous Athletes of India Sport
1 PV Sindhu Badminton
2 Saina Nehwal Badminton
3 Saina Mirza Tennis
4 Mary Kom Boxing
5 Deepika Kumari Archery
6 Mithali Raj Cricket
7 Dipa Karmakar Gymnastics
8 Sakshi Malik Wrestling
9 Tania Sachdev Chess
10 Rani Rampal Hockey
11 Dutee Chand Athletics
12 Dipika Pallikal Squash
13 Hima Das Athletics
14 Geeta Phogat Wrestling
15 Vinesh Phogat Wrestling
16 PT Usha Athletics
17 Apurvi Chandela Shooting
18 Jhulan Goswami Cricket
19 Anju Bobby George Athletics
20 Jwala Gutta Badminton
21 Mirabai Chanu Weightlifting
22 Manu Bhaker Shooting
23 Manika Batra Table Tennis
24 Bhavani Devi Fencing
25 PU Chitra Athletics
26 Heena Sidhu



Harmanpreet Kaur



Lovlina Borgohain



Nikhat Zareen



Smriti Shriniwas Mandhana


Sania Mirza | Female in sports

Sania Mirza | female athlete | women in sports in india - KreedOn
Image Source: Indian Express

Sania is a former professional tennis player born on 15 November 1986. She was ranked number one in the world for 91 weeks straight in the women’s doubles category and she is the biggest sporting icon in the nation. She is the first and the only female tennis player from India to win six major titles. Mirza is one of the two Indian female tennis players to win a WTA title and the only one to reach the top 100 singles rankings. She has been honored with the Arjuna award, Padma Shri, and other awards as well. She has inspired many women to display their talent and pursue their dreams. In March 2023, Sania Mirza ended her path-breaking journey as a tennis player at the place where it all began.

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Mary Kom | Female in sports in India

Mary Kom | female athletes | women in sports | KreedOn
Image Source: Scroll.in

She is one of the most influential Indian athletes. She has battled her way to the top using her sheer hard work and determination. Despite being a victim of gender discrimination, she became the only woman boxer to win medals in every format of amateur boxing. She is an Indian Olympic boxer also known as the unbreakable. Mary was born into a proletarian family on 24 November 1982 and that never stopped her from achieving excellence. She is a 5-time World Amateur Boxing Champion. And the only woman boxer to win a medal in the six world championships. Mary became the only Indian woman boxer to qualify for the Summer Olympics when she competed in the London Olympics. Mary Kom has been honored with several prestigious awards including Padma Shri, Arjuna Award for boxing, Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, and many more for her outstanding performance.

Saina Nehwal | Women in sports in India

women in sports in india | female athletes- KreedOn
Image Source: Olympics

She is the first Indian badminton player to win an Olympic medal. Saina Nehwal is one of the most acknowledged players in the world. She has made the nation proud with her achievements and is the first female and the second Indian shuttler to be ranked first in the world after Prakash Padukone. Saina Nehwal has won over 24 international titles, which includes 10 superseries titles. Considered one of the most successful Indian sportspersons. She is credited for increasing the popularity of badminton in India. She has been awarded Arjuna Award, Padma Shri, and Padma Bhushan for her achievements. 

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Mithali Raj | Female Athletes in India

Mithali Raj - KreedOn
Image Source: Indian Express

Mithali Raj is a former Indian cricket player. She is a right-handed opening batsman and is also the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket. And the only female cricketer to surpass the 7,000 run mark in women’s One-day international matches. Mithali is the first player to score seven consecutive 50s in ODIs. She is the recipient of several national and international awards, including the Wisden leading woman cricketer in the world in 2017, the Arjuna award in 2003, and the Padma Shri in 2015, by the Government of India. She is one of the most renowned women players worldwide. On 8 June 2022, Mithali Raj announced her retirement from all formats of international cricket.

PV Sindhu | Women in Sports

women in sports | female in sports - KreedOn
Image Source: Indian Express

She is an Indian badminton superstar. PV Sindhu began her journey at a very young age and ever since then she has won several medals at multiple tournaments including Olympics and world championships. She is the first Indian to become the Badminton World Champion. Sindhu is only the second individual athlete from India to win two consecutive medals at the Olympic Games. She is a warrior who battled her way and bagged numerous awards throughout her career. Sindu has been awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, and Arjuna award. 

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The strenuous journey of success of women in sports in India

Hima Das | female in sports- KreedOn
Image Source: Indian Express

Women have been oppressed and considered inferior by men throughout centuries. They have been deprived of opportunities and are seen as suitable for menial work. Over decades, women have fought their ways out of the dominant culture. Now they have finally reached the zenith as they never gave up. Even after being differentiated and humiliated, women have excelled in their lives through their consistent perseverance and desire to prove themselves. 

Dreams can be unraveled through dedication and hard work. Women have made a profound presence in the sports industry and their patience turned out to be fruitful for them. Life is not easy yet for those who try to find their way out.  

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What is the role of women in sport?

When girls and women play sports, they can cultivate critical skills—self-confidence, leadership, and problem-solving in the team. Sportswomen serve themselves well in their personal and professional lives.

What is equality for women in sport?

In sports, gender equality is shattering all the harmful stereotypes that make women less likely to take up sporting activities. 

What are 5 reasons girls should play sports?

5 reasons that girls should play sports are:
To boost self-confidence
For discipline lifestyle
Enhance leadership qualities
Problem-solving Attitude
Teamwork and resilience

Who are the famous female athletes in India?

PV Sindhu
Smriti Mandhana
Saina Nehwal
Harmanpreet Kaur
Saina Mirza
Mary Kom
Deepika Kumari
Mithali Raj
Dipa Karmakar
Lovlina Borgohain, and so on.

What challenges have women in Indian sports historically faced?

Historically, women in Indian sports have encountered challenges such as lack of access to resources, limited opportunities, gender bias, and societal stereotypes that discouraged their participation in sports.

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Ayushi Bhatti
Ayushi Bhatti
I am Ayushi Bhatti, a graduate of B.A. English Honours from St. Stephens College, University of Delhi. Currently, I am pursuing M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from Sharda University. Over the years, I have attained proficiency in the English language through my consistent hard work and efficient writing skills. I have formerly written content for several prestigious platforms and some of them are NDTV Lifestyle Swirlster, LernEzy, Yhills, Kreedon, Zee Media. I have also been doing freelance writing besides writing articles, blogs, advertisements for campaigns, and website content. I possess the capability to write insightful and lucid content to bewitch my readers.



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