This week we take a look at three exceptional women whose stars are on the rise at the Olympics in London. Their performance, sometimes merely their qualifying presence, will undoubtedly serve as a huge morale boost back in their home countries, which have been deemed as not-so-friendly for women.
In 14.42 seconds, Tahmina Kohistani showed Afghanistan what women could do and what the future generations should fight for. As the only female athlete to represent Afghanistan in London, her dream has been fraught with ridicule, disdain, and cultural abuses. The 23-year-old may have finished second last in the qualifying rounds, but she has sounded a clarion call for women in her country and the region. Shedding tears at her personal best timing, she appealed to her fellow Afghans to support and join her efforts. She said she hopes to be in Brazil for the next Olympics, and also represent Afghanistan with more women.
India has been generating a lot of negative press and social media coverage as ‘no country
for women,’ but her female athletes are shining in London. Twenty-two year old Saina Nehwal brought home the bronze medal in Badminton, culminating in a season of successes for herself. It has been a steady climb — quarterfinals in Beijing, bronze in London, series wins in Thailand and Indonesia. It’s still sinking in, but she says she’s happy she’s delivered what she promised and believed in. Saina also said she’s aiming for Gold in Rio.
Another Indian, who has been in the limelight, is boxer Mary Kom from the NorthEastern state of Manipur. The 29-year-old mother of two is five-time world champion fighting a semi-final Olympic dream on August 8. The female pugilist is generating heavy media coverage and the collective prayers of a nation, where cricket is an alternative religion.
In just one sporting event, these women have potentially done more for sensibilities, upliftment and empowerment of their compatriots and tribes than generations of policies and in-favour-of politics. Here’s hoping their stars shine brighter in the years to come and that their fight is enriched with support, respect, success and more female athletes to represent their countries!
Sources: The Washington Post, The Times of India, IANS, Google Images.