5 Indian Female Athletes To Win A Medal In The Olympics

Indian women to win medals in the Olympics: Five years back, the entire nation resonated with a cry of anguish and near-miss as Dipa Karmakar became one of those rare gymnasts to successfully perform the ‘vault of death’ and yet finish her glorious campaign in the fourth place.

It was an inspiring sight to millions as Dipa forced her way to the very top, braving a mountain of odds stacked against her. Pursuing any sport barring cricket is a challenge in India and when it comes to the strong ladies of the sport it gets even more difficult.

However, there are always a few souls who simply refuse to give up and keep on coming back, no matter the cost. In this story, we will look at those free souls who simply refused to bow down against the world and came back stronger to win medals in Olympics for India.


It was only in the 21st century that Indian women started coming to the fore. India’s most successful event in the Olympics has been field hockey. However, the dynamics started shifting, with individuals notching up glory for themselves towards the latter half of the century. It took almost 92 years since Norman Pritchard’s triumph at the Olympics for a woman to make her mark and, man, she did it in style. Here are the iron women of India.

1. Karnam Malleshwari – Bronze in Weightlifting, Sydney, 2000

This glorious moment of triumph came in the year 2000 when this 25-year-old woman became the solitary Indian to notch up a medal in an otherwise disastrous campaign for India.

Being a part of the 69 kg division of weight lifting, she lifted a total of 240 kg, which was divided into 110 kg snatch and 130 kg clean and jerk to win the bronze medal at Sydney. Even two decades after this triumph of hers, she still remains the solitary Indian woman to notch up a medal in weightlifting for India.


2. Saina Nehwal – Bronze in Badminton, London, 2012

Saina Nehwal featured in Beijing’s Olympics as unseeded. She turned things around in a magical fashion as she entered the 2012 Olympics as the fourth seed. Even before the tournament started, she suffered from fever, once again jeopardizing her Olympic dream.

However, being a champion, she turned things around in a sumptuous manner as she bagged victories over Switzerland’s Sabrina Jaquet and Belgium’s Lianne Tan to surge ahead to the next round.

Saina secured another comfortable victory in the pre-quarterfinals as she successfully trounced Yao Jie. However, a much stringent test awaited as she was face to face with Tine Baun from Denmark, and she had to battle until the very ended to win a closely-contested encounter.


Sadly, Saina succumbed to China’s Wang Yihan in the semi-finals. In the clash of the third place, she was trailing by a set against Wan Xin of China when the latter copped an injury and had to concede the match that bagged Saina her maiden medal in the Olympics.

3. Mary Kom – Bronze in Boxing, London, 2012

This was India’s second glory in an individual sport in the London Olympics, as the Manipuri pugilist punched above her weight to clinch the bronze. She was a part of the 51 kg category and successfully knocked out Polish boxer, Karolina Michalzuk in the opening round and followed it up with another rippling display against Tunisia’s Maroua Rahali to clinch her semi-final berth.

Sadly, she couldn’t power past her UK counterpart, Nichola Adams, and bowed out 6-11 in the semi-finals, notching up the bronze for her country.


4. P.V. Sindhu – Silver in Badminton, Rio, 2016

When Saina Nehwal crashed out in the opening rounds of 2016, PV Sindhu was shouldered with the titanic responsibility of fighting for her nation single-handedly.

Sindhu rampaged through Laura Sarosi while she had to battle a see-saw war against Michelle Li to make it to the next round.

She then blasted the likes of Tai Tzu-Ying and Wang Yihan in the respective rounds to reach the semis. She was awaited by second-seed, Nozomi Okuhara who was absolutely famished for payback.


After a closely fought first set, Sindhu bagged the initial set, which was followed by a resounding victory in the second to claim the final berth.

A historic display in the final saw one of the best-contested encounters in the antiquity of badminton. Sindhu was at the top of her game and posted a solid display to clinch the first set. However, Carolina Marin grabbed the last two sets to walk away with the bragging rights, despite Sindhu’s best efforts.

5. Sakshi Malik – Bronze in wrestling, Rio, 2016

This was the first time an Indian woman clinched a medal in wrestling in the Olympics. Competing in the 58 kg category, this 23-year-old woman posted an absolutely brilliant display to walk away with the medal.


Sakshi pumped her way to the quarters by beating Sweden’s Johanna Mattsson and Moldovan Mariana Cherdivara in the respective rounds. However, she lost to the eventual champion, Russia’s Valeria Koblova in the quarter-final. She then got the better of Mongolian pugilist Pürevdorjiin Orkhon in the first round of repêchage that was followed by a come from behind victory against Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan to secure the bronze medal.

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