Indian women’s performance in Tokyo Olympics 2020; Inspired millions of girls


  • Ritu Sahay

Years back the country was gripped in an enthralling sports movie led by the leading superstar of the time, inspiring with a superb supporting cast and sporting conduct, in the Indian movie Chak de India, based on women sports team in Hockey. None of us at that time could predict, that we are going to have a more thrilling and inspiring experience in real life, while watching the professional performance of the current Women’s Hockey team of India in Olympics, 2021.

People will watch women’s matches more often after this. India has created a historic performance in this year’s Olympics in terms of total no of medals, by winning all time highest Indian tally of glorious 7 medals and taking it past 2012 total tally of 6 medals. This is the best Olympics I have experienced in a longest time. The women team consisted of those, who were not even able to qualify in last Rio Olympics of 2016, yet they succeeded in giving a scintillating performance, competing first time in semifinals in the history of all time Indian women’s team performances in Olympics.

Despite watching Chak De India, I have never followed Hockey before. Indian Women’s Hockey Team performance has intrigued not only mine but everyone’s excitement into following this amazing team sports. This was just the third time in the history of the Games that Indian Women’s Hockey team have given an appearance (2008, 2012, and reached semifinals this year). I can’t help but appreciate wonderful defence by the women’s team. The enthusiasm youth are showing in Olympics will only be worthwhile if it is translated in other sports disciplines in times to come. Sports wise, Badminton is probably only third sport in which we had podium finish in three consecutive Olympic games, Saina Nehwal in 2012, PV Sindhu in 2016 and 2020. Interestingly every time it’s been women’s singles only.

India’s best performance in Olympics so far followed up with Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award name change to Dhyanchand Khel ratna award, to honour the India’s hockey wizard who impressed Adolf Hitler in 1936 Berlin Olympics.Taking 6 Individual and 1 team medal, India’s medal account was opened by Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu with a silver in the women’s 49kg – her first medal at the Olympics, second weightlifting Olympic medal, after Karnam Malleswari’s bronze at Sydney 2000. Lovlina Borgohain won Bronze medal in women’s welterweight (64-69kg). Badminton queen PV Sindhu became the first Indian woman and only the second Indian athlete – after Sushil Kumar – to win two individual Olympic medals. The 23-year-old Ravi Kumar Dahiya ending up with a silver medal in men’s 57kg freestyle wrestling. It was India’s ninth silver medal in Olympic history and a second silver medal in wrestling after Sushil Kumar at London 2012. First team medal of Olympics 2020 was a Bronze medal won by Indian hockey team in men’s hockey after a 41-year wait since the gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Bajrang Punia won a Bronze medal in men’s 65kg wrestling. Neeraj Chopra created a history being first athelete to win gold for India in athletics. He won a gold medal in javelin throw.

Indian women’s performance in Tokyo Olympics 2020 have made all Indians proud again, and inspired millions of girls that dreams can come true as long as you work hard for it and believe it!

Learnings from the inspirational Indian women’s hockey team:-

  1. Resilience – The Tokyo Olympics was proving to be a difficult tournament, as they followed the game against the Netherlands, with two more losses against Germany and Great Britain. With an imminent departure following three consecutive defeats, the pressure was on the Indian team to perform. However, the team fought back with a spirit of fortitude, winning back-to-back games against Ireland and South Africa. Let alone competing in semifinals for a team who had not qualified for Olympics before, shows grit and resilience. Same stands true for men’s team, who won bronze and stood 3rd in the world.
  2. Teamwork and Diversity – Inspiration can be taken from the Indian hockey team captain, Rani Rampal, who led the team. She ensured that the team’s morale remained high throughout the tournament. Sjoerd Marijne, the teams coach was also an inspirational figure for the team. Team work inspite of the spectrum of diversity in regional as well as in age, makes them inspirational superstars.

There was tremendous team work even in between mens and womens hockey team, where Women’s hockey team learnt from the wonderful performances of the Men’s hockey team. Similarly Sabita Punya was a shining example for both teams.

  1. Agility and Fitness – Since Rio Olympic games, investment in international coaches, both Dutch and Australian, has paid off in instituting discipline and performance enhancement of all team members in the Indian hockey team, with increased fitness and competence levels.
  2. Going extra mile– Investment in international coaches, guiding the Indian women’s team to a historic semifinal spot in the Olympic Games in Tokyo when India defeated world No. 2 Australia 1-0 in the quarterfinal at the Olympics Hockey Stadium in Tokyo has successfully paid off.
  3. Power of Nari Shakti – These 15 women’s might have just missed a historic bronze medal, but they won everyone’s hearts. Harnessing the power of women, India’s women sporting athletes potential and their enthusiastic participation in the current edition of Olympic games is a shining example of grit and determination, focus and discipline, and team spirit.

This is not the end but the beginning of the glorious future of a New Age Indian sporting icons and dedicated sporting culture, with enhanced professional sporting facilities equipped with the latest in terms of techniques and professional equipments and guidance.
The country at large has woken upto the vast potential of sports as a profession and it’s resultant glory. Sports is finally getting accorded it’s true place in the Indian society and it’s associated achievements and success stories. More power to the glorious future of Indian Sports, we are at a threshold of more medals and applause in the coming future with full support from the government and society at large.

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