A lot of people are suddenly proud of our female sportspersons and point to a new era beginning at the Rio Olympics 2016 thanks to their commendable performances. That is a bit unfair on those who have been performing well even before Rio.
The truth is that they have really upped the game and this has been happening for more than a decade now. For example how many women got an Olympic medal from 1900-96? The answer is a zero.
That jinx was broken by Karnam Malleswari way back in 2000 when she got a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and she was our only medal winner then. Then our first real superstar was Mary Kom.
She won five straight gold medals at the World Amateur Boxing Championships from 2002- 10. However there was no boxing in the Olympics for women during that period! When it was finally introduced in 2012, it was only in three weight categories as against ten for men.
An ageing Mary Kom increased her weight to qualify and still managed a bronze. Around that time the Phogat sisters were taking the world by storm and opening wide India’s field of women wrestling.
Image tweeted by Sakshi Malik