The 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia, was a complete roller-coaster ride for Indians. The contingent of 804 athletes and officials participated in the Asian Games and won 69 medals in total. With 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze medals, India is at the 8th position at the medal tally. It is the highest ever medal count by India at Asian Games.
Like the previous edition, this time too the female athletes have shined brighter and have managed to bring glory to the nation. With 4 Gold medals, and many more medals in their bag, the daughters of India have proved they are no less than sons.
To know more about the contribution of female athletes in clinching Gold medals for India read below –
Rahi Sarnobat – Women’s 25m pistol event. (shooting)
Rahi Jeevan Sarnobat, the 27-year-old girl created history on 22 August 2018 by clinching a Gold Medal for India in women’s 25m pistol event. Not only did she win a gold medal but also set a new record in a double shoot-off in 25m pistol event. This amazing shooter scored a total of 34 and after battling two tie-breaker rounds against Thailand’s Naphaswan Yangpaiboon, Rahi bagged a Gold Medal at Asian Games 2018.
Rahi is an experienced shooter and has strived extremely hard to get this medal. The shooter battled a major elbow injury in 2016 and managed to make a resounding comeback this time in Asian Games 2018. Sarnobat is the first Indian female shooter to win Gold at Asian Games 2018. Not only this, she is a double gold medalist at Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 and Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 and a bronze medal winner at Incheon Asian Games 2014. Rahi calls former 50m rifle prone world champion Tejaswini Sawant her inspiration. Hailing from Kolhapur in Maharashtra, Rahi also holds the distinction of being the first Indian pistol shooter to win a gold medal in World Cup in Changwon, South Korea in 2013.
Vinesh Phogat – Freestyle Wrestling 50 kg
Vinesh Phogat, the girl belonging to the famous Phogat family of wrestlers, clinched a Gold medal in Asian Games 2018. She had also clinched another Gold at Commonwealth Games 2018 in the Gold Coast. Now, Vinesh has become the first ever Indian woman wrestler to win Gold in both Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. Vinesh had struggled really hard to win the medals and her family has put equal efforts to break the taboos of society and introduce the girls of the family into wrestling. Also, the consistency and dedication of Vinesh towards her game which made her win these medals at International events cannot be neglected. Vinesh’s journey of winning medals started in 2013 when she won bronze in Asian Wrestling Championship. Later, Vinesh further improved and won Silver medal in Commonwealth Wrestling Championship 2013 held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The golden girl of wrestling did not stop there, she hustled harder and ultimately bagged her first Gold in 2014 at Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Other than these medals, Vinesh had also won a bronze medal at Asian Games Incheon, South Korea in 2014 and a silver medal in Asian Championship in Doha.
Swapna Barman – Women’s Heptathlon
Swapna Burman is an Indian athlete from Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, who recently bagged a Gold medal in Jakarta at Asian Games 2018. The journey of this courageous heptathlete has been hellacious. Being born with six toes in each foot in an extremely poor family could not stop this brave girl from bagging a gold at the Asian Games. Swapna’s father was an auto-rickshaw driver who is bed-ridden since 2013 after suffering a stroke. Her mother who worked at a tea-plantation in West Bengal left the job to take care of her father. It is by her brother’s salary that her family is able to sustain.
Swapna’s climb to success in the Asian Games 2018 is a result of her sheer hard work and determination. Swapna also struggled to get the funds for her training but she did not let any of these setbacks pull her down or affect her performance. She has always emerged out as a winner after bearing immense pain. This 21-year-old athlete won specialist high jump, the shot put and javelin, to record a personal best score of 6,026 though she was suffering from a toothache which she had to contend with during the game. Swapna ran with a taped jaw during her performance. It is now that shoe companies are also taking concern regarding the problem of this athlete and designing special shoes for her 12 toes.
Apart from this Gold Medal, she had won two more gold medals in 2017 Asian Championship in Bhuvneshwar and Federation Cup 2017 in New Delhi. Currently, Swapna trains at the Sports Authority of India campus at Kolkata.
M. R. Poovamma, Saritaben Gaikwad, Hima Das, Vismaya – Women’s Relay Team ( Athletics)
India won a Gold Medal in Women’s 4 x 400 m relay race at Asian Games 2018. The women’s team comprised of M. R. Poovamma, Saritaben Gaikwad, Hima Das, and Vismaya who individually and in also team delivered exceptional performances.
M. R. Poovamma – M. R. Poorvamma has been a shining star in the field of Athletics. She has been conferred Arjuna Award for her contributions to the same. Poovamma has won several Gold and silver medals in various championships apart from the Women’s Relay Team event at Asian Games 2018.
Sarita Gaikward, daughter of a farm labourer, is one of the participants of women’s 4X400 relay team which won Gold at Asian Games 2018. She once used to run barefoot in the fields during her training period. Sarita hails from a remote tribal village of Gujarat. Her career as a professional was kick-started when she took part in a 400 meters’ trial race which was organised by Sports Authority of Gujarat (SAG) to get new talents in Sports. As of 2018, she works as an income tax official of government.
Hima Das, a name which has recently become popular in Indian households, is a farmer’s daughter. Rising from humble beginnings, this girl earlier made history in Finland and this time again made India proud by winning a silver medal in women’s 400m and Gold medal in 4x400m relay. The struggling story of Hima Das is grinding. Hima hails from a place where there were no running tracks, no other basic facilities. She had to train on a muddy football field. However, despite the lack of facilities, Hima won Silver medal and contributed in winning Gold and therefore played a pivotal role to India’s triumph at the Asian Games 2018.
Vismaya Velluva Koroth
Vismaya, daughter of a construction labourer, ensured India’s Gold medal in 4x400m relay by being a part of women’s relay team. She struggled hard for this opportunity and ultimately proved she was worth it.
These Golden girls of India are an inspiration to many Indian athletes and rising youngsters.