Today, the Madhavan-Ritika Singh starrer Saala Khadoos hit the screens and we hear it’s a knock out! The story is about a disgraced boxer who is assigned to coach the women’s boxing team; and he discovers his champion in a fiery girl from a fishing village. Check out the trailer!

 

Yes, it is a story that has been heard time and again, but it is also a constant reminder that there are many “champions” in India who remain maids, housewives or clerks due to circumstances ever so common.

At the same time, there are some names which made their way through all these circumstances. PT Usha, Karnam Malleshwari, Anjali Bhagwat, Shiny Abraham. These are some of the many names that have been conferred with awards and then forgotten; or drowned under the revered accolades of the Dhonis, Kohlis or Jadejas. These are some of the many names that have been “khadoos” enough to make their way to greatness “in spite of being women”.

Let’s look at 5 Indian women athletes you should know, and be proud about!

1. MC Mary Kom – “Magnificient Mary”

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A five-time World Amateur Boxing champion, she was made popular by the recent biographical film starring Priyanka Chopra. What you may not know is that she has a boxing academy of her own, MC Mary Kom Boxing Academy, in her home state. Kom has been training numerous underprivileged girls for free since 2007, some of whom live with her in her own house! From a high school drop out to the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships, this is Mary Kom.

 

2. Arunima Sinha – She Climbed Her Way to Her Dreams

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She climbed Mount Everest on May 21, 2013. What’s so special about that? Arunima Sinha lost her leg when some robbers pushed her out of a moving train. A national level volleyball player before that, she couldn’t take the tag of being “helpless”. So she decided to climb the highest peak on earth. Arunima is the world’s second and India’s only female amputee to climb the Mount Everest.

 

3. Geeta Phogat – The Mud Pit Fighter From Haryana

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She’s the first Indian woman to score a gold in women’s wrestling at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Coached by her father Mahavir Phogat, also a wrestler, this Jatt girl took her training from the mud pits of Haryana right to the Commonwealth Games! What’s more, a movie based on her life is all set to hit the screens this year with Aamir Khan playing the role of her father!

 

4. Hetal Dave – Sumo Didi from Mumbai

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What comes to your mind when you hear sumo wrestling? A huge Japanese man wearing a piece of cloth, right? Well, this 27 year old girl has managed to change that perception once and for all. Being first and only sumo wrestler in the country, Hetal’s had to face some really tough times to follow her dream. But her family, especially her brother who is her usual sparring partner (ouch!) stood by her and continues to do so! She also holds the Yokozuna, the top-most rank for professional sumo wrestling.

 

5. Mithali Raj – The Pioneer of Indian Women’s Cricket

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Can you imagine being in a vocation where you are overshadowed by the best, most celebrated men in the country? Well, that’s what Mithali Raj, captain of the Indian women’s cricket team had to face when she played for the national team in 1999 at the age of 17. Known to be ‘sublime’ with the bat, she was the second female cricketer to cross 5000 ODI runs; and that’s when twitterati started calling her ‘Lady Sachin’! Not too shabby a nickname now, is it?

If you think these stories are inspiration enough to get you going every day, then go for it. Run, jump, play, dance, wrestle. Get up. Get out. Get going.

Which athlete has inspired you the most? Let us know in the comments section below!