Women In Sports In India Who Inspired The Nation

Women In Sports In India Who Inspired The Nation

India is a land of diverse cultures, where traditionally, men work, and women often handle household chores. Now, Indian women have come a long way, breaking through the traditional and challenging societal norms, showcasing their potential in various sports, and raising their nation’s flag in international sports events. From cricket to badminton, women in sports in India have come out of the stereotypical life and made their own identity globally. We will highlight some of the most famous Indian sportswomen who excelled in diverse arenas, inspiring the new generation to dream big and achieve bigger. 

A Significant Change In Sports Tradition

Historically, mainly men dominated the various sports, with limited opportunities for women to pursue athletic careers. However, the landscape began to change in the 20th century, and the country saw some legendary sportswomen in India. From PT Usha to PV Sindhu, these Indian sports women have come out of their kitchens to the field and shown their talent to the world while keeping societal concerns aside.  

These women have highlighted their names on their own and achieved several awards in their sports fields. Their achievements show their dedication to sports, and their stories inspire hundreds and thousands of young boys and girls. All in all, they have proved a legend to the country and become an integral part of India’s growing image globally. 

Let’s take a look at the greatest women in sports in India of all time. 

Top 10 Indian Sportswomen Who Set Records   

Despite the multiple challenges, the popular sportswomen in India have made their way to a successful careers. Here is the list of the top 10 women in sports in India. 

 1. PT Usha (Track & Field)

PT Usha, often regarded as the Queen of India track and field, is one of the most popular women in sports in India. She has inspired many in the succeeding generations across the globe with her skills. 

Awards & Medals

  • Arjuna Award in 1983 
  • Padma Shri in 1985
  • Won a total of 102 medals in national and international meet

 2. PV Sindhu (Badminton)

PV Sindhu, Pursarla Venkata Sindhu, is an Indian badminton player who is blessed with exceptional badminton skills. She is the first woman in India who has won two Olympic silver medals and made her nation proud. She is one of the women in sports in India with an inspirational journey. 

Awards & Medals 

  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna – 2013
  • Arjuna Award – 2013
  • Padma Shri – 2015
  • Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award – 2016
  • Padma Bhushan – 2020
  • BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year – 2020
  • 2 Silver Olympic Medals 

 3. Saina Nehwal (Badminton)

Saina Nehwal is a legendary figure in Indian sports. With unmatched talent and commitment, she made herself counted as one of the best women in sports in India. She highlighted the country’s name in the London 2012 Olympics by winning the bronze and becoming the first-ever India to win an Olympic medal in Badminton after Karnam Malleswari. 

Awards & Medals 

  • Padma Bhushan 2016
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2009–2010)
  • Padma Shri (2010)
  • Arjuna Award (2009)
  • Most Promising Player of the Year (2008), BWF
  • Gold Medal in Women’s single event in the 2010 Commonwealth
  • Bronze at the London Olympics

 4. Sania Mirza (Tennis)

Sania Mirza is perhaps one of the greatest Indian sportswomen, with several awards and medals to her name. She has a beautiful and inspiring career and did not leave her roots even after giving birth to a child. She gave birth in 2018 and returned to the tennis court in 2020.  

 Awards & Medals 

  • Arjuna Award (2004)
  • WTA Newcomer of the Year (2005)
  • Padma Shri (2006)
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2015)
  • BBC list of 100 inspiring women (2015)
  • Padma Bhushan (2016)
  • NRI of the Year (2016)
  • Pinkvilla Style Icons Awards – Super Glam Sports Star of the Year (2023)
  • Gold Medal in the 2006 and 2014 Asian Games

 5. Mary Kom (Boxing)

Mary Kom is the famous name on the list of women in sports in India. She has represented India at the 2012 Olympics and became the first boxer to win a medal. Be it her skills that have made her a sports celebrity or her return to the ring post-pregnancy, this legend is everything that an aspiring woman athlete looks for in a mentor. 

Awards & Medals

  • Padma Shri 2006
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2009)
  • Padma Bhushan 2013
  • Several Asian Games Medals

 6. Geeta Phogat (Wrestler)

When it comes to sportswomen in India, the Phogat sisters occupy a huge space on the list of women in sports in India. Geeta is the eldest among the siblings and the first Indian woman to win the Commonwealth Games in wrestling. She is known as the Gangal Girl in the country. 

Awards & Medals 

  • Arjuna Award in the year 2012.
  • Bronze Medal in the Asian Wrestling Championship in 2012 
  • Silver Medal in Commonwealth Wrestling Championships of 2013

 7. Mithali Raj (Cricket)

Former Indian Cricket Player, Mithali Raj is one of the famous women in sports in India. She was a right-handed opening batswoman who set a record for the highest run score in women’s international cricket. Mithali is a renowned sportswoman in India, but she announced her retirement from all formats of international cricket in 2022. 

 Awards & Medals 

  • Arjuna Award in 2003 
  • Padma Shri in 2015

 8. Mirabai Chanu (Weightlifting)

Mirabai Chanu is a popular Indian sportswoman. She is rewarded with various renowned national awards like Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna. Mirabai is a famous Indian sportswoman personality who has taken weightlifting in India to the next level. She is among the most influential women in sports in India, who won several gold, silver, and bronze medals at the national and international stages. 

Awards & Medals 

  • Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna (2014)
  • Gold Medal in World Weightlifting Championship (2017)
  • Silver Medal in South Asian Games (2016)
  • Gold Medal in Commonwealth Games (2014)
  • Silver in Tokyo Olympics 2020

 9. Deepika Kumari (Archery)

One of the women in sports in India, Deepika Kumari, was also crowned as the world No. 1 archery player in 2012. With her exceptional performance, she proved that India can also excel in Archery. Currently ranked fifth in the world, Deepika continues to encourage women who seek a successful career in sports. 

Awards & Medals 

  • 2 Gold medals in the 2010 Commonwealth Games 
  • 1 Silver medal in South Korea’s Yunk Ok-Hee
  • Arjuna Award (2012)
  • FICCI Sportsperson of the Year Award (2014)
  • Padma Shri (2016)

 10. Dipa Karmakar (Gymnastic)

If we talk about Indian women in sports, Dipa Karmakar is the one name that comes to mind. She is one of the women in sports in India who has been winning several awards and medals with her unmatchable gymnastic skills. Her spectacular performance, particularly in the Produnova Vault, stunned the entire world. 

Awards & Medals 

  • Gold medal in the Junior Nationals 2008
  • Total 77 medals to her name at state, national, and international levels.
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award – 2016
  • Padma Shri – 2017

The journey of women in sports in India is a tale of determination, perseverance, and triumph. From challenging stereotypes to winning medals on the global stage, these women have really come a long way. With their hard work and passion, they own a special place in the hearts of their fan. As India continues to celebrate women’s contributions, the nation is too close to a future where gender is a limitation, and every girl is encouraged to unleash their athletic potential. 


Out of several sportswomen in India, PT Usha, Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, and Sania Mirza are the five most famous and influential women in sports in India. 

India's legendary track and field athlete, PT Usha, is considered the sports queen of India. With her ability of long strides, she dominated the Asian track-and-field events for most of 1980. She won 23 medals in all, 14 of which are gold. He has been an inspiration to the next generation. 

Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha, PT Usha, is the golden girl of Indian sports. She is also called Payyoli Express because of her unbeatable running speed. 

Saina Nehwal became the first Indian women's badminton player to become the world's No.1 woman in singles in 2015. In the 14-year-long playing career, she has become the most successful sports personality in the country. 

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