ANJALI BHAGWAT: AN INSPIRATION

Blog by : Anuradha Guha

Anjali Bhagwat, or Anjali Ramakantha Vedpathak is an Indian shooter, popularly heralded as ‘The Girl Who Never Misses’. She earned the epithet of World Number One in 10m Air Rifle in 2002.

Anjali was born in a simple Marathi family in Mumbai. From a very young age, she was deeply inspired by the famous athlete, Carl Lewis. She came across shooting as a cadet in the National Cadet Corps (NCC). After finishing her schooling, she enrolled in the Kirti College in Mumbai simple because of it’s short distance to NCC. As a part of her activities she got into the Maharashtra Rifle Association (MRA) and started shooting at the age of 21.

Her first coach was Sanjiv Chakravarti and she gives him the credit for her strong beliefs and determination, instilled over a period of 5 years. She first participated in the National Championships in 1988 and won a silver medal for her state. Her first participation in an international event was in 1995 in the SAF games. She is the only woman to have won a World Cup for India.

In 1999 she started training under the Hungarian coach, Laszlo Szucsak. Both of her coaches contributed a lot in shaping her as a sportswoman but they were also in awe of Anjali’s seamless execution of their instructions in the field.

In 2000, Anjali became the 2nd Indian woman to reach the final Olympics, the first being P.T.Usha. She also received the silver medal at the World Cup finals held in Munich. In 2002, she was ranked the number one player in the world. Throughout the duration of 1998-2001 , Anjali won four gold medals in the Commonwealth Games.

Anjali Bhagwat was the face of women’s shooting in India. As a woman, it wasn’t easy for her achieve her dreams, but she persisted in her life with will and determination, striving to make her dreams come true. In our country, women are seldom encourage to play sports, leave alone take it up as a career option. But she did so, and went on to become of the most successful players of India, making her country proud.

Anjali was a believer in hard work. She herself said that while shooting, she forgot everything else in the world. She was quoted saying- “At the international level, every shooter has their own coach, psychologist and manager, who takes care of every player’s needs. This helps the player move forward. Since we do not get any such facility, our success is more delightful.”

She also was a firm believer in having control over your mind, even in the most stressful of situations. She said- “Only those who handle the pressure well , will make their talent count.”

Anjali received the ‘Arjuna Award’ in a 2000 and the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award’ in 2003 for her performance in the Commonwealth Games in 2002.

Anjali worked hard for her success and is an inspiration to all the women of India that if they have the talent, and the courage to pursue it, they too can get their dreams.

ANJU BOBBY GEORGE

Blog by : Anuradha Guha

Anju Bobby George is an Indian Athlete. She specializes in Long Jump.

Anju was born on 19th April, 1977 in a Syrian Orthodox Family in Kerala. Anju’s father was a sports enthusiast and he was quick to recognize the talent in his daughter. He was the one to initiate her into the world of sports. She completed her schooling in CKM Kothrude School and graduated from Vimala College. Her talent came to special notice in the national school games when she won third place in 100m hurdles and 4*100m relay.

Anju started her career with Heptathlon, but she started focusing on her Long Jumps when she recognized her natural aptitude in that field. The turning point in Anju’s career came when she was married to her husband and coach, Robert Bobby George.

In 1995, Anju set the national record for triple jump in the Bangalore Federation Cup. In 2001, she broke her own record of long jump in The National Circuit Meet in Thiruvananthapuram.

Anju jumped to fame in 2003 when she won the bronze medal in Long Jump at the 2003  World Championships in Athletics in Paris, becoming the first Indian athlete to even win a bronze in World Championship in Athletics. Anju reached her personal best at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. In 2005, she won Gold Medal both in the 16th Asiatic Athletic Championships and the IAAF World Athletics Final.

Anju was awarded the coveted ‘Arjuna Award’ in 2002-2003. She also received the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award’ in 2003-2004 for her achievements in the World Championship in Athletics and the Padma Shri, India’s one of the highest civilian awards.

Anju Bobby, though no longer a player, in an earlier interview, expressed her sadness that a good coaching and management system is absent in India to support young emerging Long Jump players reach their full potential.

She still maintains a strict daily regime. She wakes up at 5.30 a.m. and goes to ground. Having been an athlete, this has been her routine for more than 20 years. She does a few different varities of cardio exercises. Her entire morning schedule in gym consists of about 2 hours. When she trains actively, she usually takes a health drink, but most of the times it is just plain water.

Breakfast is an important meal for her. She recommends eating all types and kinds of food-in certified proportions. But she absolutely avoids any sort of junk food or food that contains oil or grease. Diet according to her consists of a meal containing huge quantities of fruits and vegetables. As an athlete, it is important to take care of her mental health as well as her physical health. In order to keep herself mentally fit and in a healthy conditions, she goes on walks, or talk to people.

One of her deepest regrets is the lack of supportive management in India for players. She was quoted saying- “Athletics, as you all know, is the mother of all sports. We have to really work hard. There are a lot of things involved. We need real talent and real support and competitive management is where we are lacking.”

She is an inspiration to many and one of the leading athletes of India.

Sakshi Malik – Top Indian Female Freestyle Wrestler

Blog by : Zainab Suratwala

Sakshi Malik – Top Indian Female Freestyle Wrestler

 

Sakshi Malik born on 3 September, 1992, is the Indian wrestler who won bronze medal in 58Kg category at Rio Summer Olympics2016.

Struggling Days

Sakshi has got supportive parents, Sukhbir and Sudesh, to thank in encouraging her always in her remarkable career choice. Her father, Sukhbir, is the bus conductor and mother, Sudeh, is the supervisor at the local health clinic. Sakshi grandfather, Badhlu Ram, inspired her to become a wrestler and her training started at the age of 12. Taking up the sport that isn’t meant for the girls, as per conservative Indian mentality, Sakshi and her coach had to face many troubles during their initial stages of national competition career. Sakshi had to fight against sexism as a kid. She wrestled with the boys and her coach Ishwar stood against all protests from locals.

First Training Experience

This 23 year from a village started her first training in wrestling when she was just 12years under the guidance of Dahiya Ishwar at one akhara in Chotu Ram stadium.

Sakshi is only fourth female athlete to have stood at a podium biting glorious medal, after Karnam Malleshwari weightlifter, MC Mary Kom boxer and Saina Nehwal shuttler.

Wrestling Career

  • Sakshi earned her bronze medal in 58Kg freestyle event at Junior World Championships 2010
  • She won bout 4 – 1 at World Championships Tashkent 2014, where she played against Sambou Anta of Senegal. But, later got knocked down by Petra Olli from Finland’s. She got bronze medal in 60Kg category at Asian Championships 2015 in Qatar
  • Her dedication became stronger with the medal that motivated her to go for gold in 60Kg category at Dave Schultz Tournament 2014. At Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014, she played against Adeniyi Aminat of Nigeria, and beat her by 4 – 0 in a contest

Awards and Rewards

  • Indian Railways also gifted her 60 lakh Rs
  • Sakshi was honoured with cash award of Rs. 2.5 crore by Government of Haryana
  • She is promoted from the senior clerk to gazetted officer in Indian Railways
  • She was honoured with the Rani Laxmi Bai Award by Government of UP awarded with cash prize of around 3.11 lakh Rs.
  • For qualifying for Olympics, she got gift of 1.01 lakh Rs. From Salman Khan.

Diet

Our Olympic winner Sakshi loves to eat Parantha and dahi Chawal. However, she hasn’t eaten her most liked food from a long time, because of her strict diet. She needs to keep her weight in continuous check when she competes in the weight sensitive sports.

She prefers cow’s milk & her diet cost is over 35,000 to 40,000 Rs. The daily routine for Malik includes 500 sit-ups and training.

For Sakshi, it is important to have good sleep and to spend quality time at home. Her diet includes sprouted food and almonds. Her diet chart includes almonds, milk, sprouted food, vegetables, fruits, soybean, raisins, pomegranate, sweet lime juice and pulses and nonveg food.

Sarjubala Devi – The Next Mary Kom

Blog by : Anuradha Guha
Sarjubala Devi is an Indian woman boxer from Manipur.
Sarjubala was born on 1st June, 1993 to Sh. Rajen Singh and Sh. (o) Thoibi Devi. She was born in a farmer family in Manipur. She graduated with Education Honors from Manipur University, with first class in 2013. She was inspired by Mary Kom’s story and decided to join Boxing School in 2005.
After two years of training, she joined the Sports Authority of India in her city, Imphal. Her weight category is in the 48 Kgs.
In 2006, she won gold at the Sub Junior Women National Championship.
In 2008, she again won gold at the Sub Junior Women National Championship.
In 2009, Sarjubala won silver at Junior Women National Championship.
In 2010, she won gold at National boxing Championships in Bhopal.
In 2011, Sarjubala won two golds at National Boxing Championships, Bhopal, gold at Youth National Championships, India, and another gold at AIBA World Youth Boxing Championships, Antalya.
In 2014, she won silver at Women World Boxing Championship in Jeju City, Korea.
It was a very difficult journey for Sarjubala to even come close to her dreams. Her family was not an affluent one and she had to fight tooth and nails, to find her way out of poverty. In spite of such dire situations, she showed an infallible strength of character and determination.
The coach of the Indian team, Anoop Kumar says that he thinks there is talent enough in Sarjubala to become a World Champion. He said- “She’s an incredible fighter. She’s got lots of drive, lots of talent and I’ve really never seen anyone work harder. She’s already won the Youth World Championship in 2011, and I think she’s just a step away from doing the same at the Senior World Championships.”
Sarjubala is very polite and soft-spoken by nature, but she packs a fountain of courage.
She hold Mary Kom in high esteem and considers her to be her idol. She was quoted saying- “Every day, Mary Kom came and taught me new things. I trained with her, watched how much work she can do. I always wanted to work as much as she wanted. I want to be like her.”
When told that she is considered the next significant boxer after Mary Kom in India and asked her thoughts about it, she replied- “I really don’t know about the expectations from the boxing lovers of the country, but Mary didi is my role model and it is because of her exploits in the ring that I got inspired to take up boxing way back in 2004 in Imphal.”
Sarjubala considers her power-packed punches to be strong points. She joking mentioned that even her coach calls her a ‘Punching Machine’. She mentioned that her small height is a weakness for her. She has to work twice as hard against boxers who are taller than her.
When asked about her family, she mentioned that her father works as the driver of a water tank in Imphal. She had a younger sister who expired a few years back and she has a younger brother. She wants her boxing to keep her family happy.
This simple girl who is being heralded “The Next Mary Kom” is an inspiration to many in the way in which she fought up her way from poverty and has established herself as one of the leading women boxers of India.

Humpy Koneru

Blog by: Anuradha Guha
Humpy Koneru is an Indian chess grandmaster.
Koneru was born on 31st March, 1987 in Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh. Her name originally was Hampi which meant ‘champion’. Her father later changed her name to ‘Humpy’ to more closely resemble a Russian-sounding name.
Koneru won three gold medals at World Youth Chess Championship, one in 1997 under 10 girls division, one in 1998 under 12 girls division and another in 2000 under 14 girls division. In 1999 the Asian Youth Chess Championship was held in Hyderabad. She won at it under 14s’ division, competing with boys. Koneru won the World Junior Girls’ Championship in 2001. She won the British Womens’ Championship both in 2000 and 2002. In 2001, she won the 10th Asian Womens’ Individual Championship and the Indian Women Championship.
In 2005, Koneru won the North Urals Cup a round-robin tournament which was held in Russia and featured ten of the strongest female chess players in the world. In 2004, she participated in the Women’s World Championship for the first time and she has participated in it regularly ever since. She qualified to the semi finals in 2004, 2008 and 2010.
Koneru participated in the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix 2009-2011. She came second, thus qualifying as challenger for Women’s World Chess Championship 2011. Koneru was runner-up in the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix 2013-2014, losing to Hou Yifan in the final stage of the game.
She went into Women’s World Chess Championship 2015 as no. 1 but was defeated in the quarter-finals of the game by Maria Muzychuk, who eventually won the games.
In 015 itself, she own the individual bronze at the Women’s World Team Chess Championship held in Chengdu, China. Dronavalli Harika won silver in this game and Humpy won bronze. But in spite of this, India came fourth in the competition, a point behind China. China was the winner of the bronze medal.
Humpy Koneru was the first woman grandmaster. Her career first started when she won the fourth place in the Indian under-8 championships in 1995. That was the beginning of a wonderful journey and Humpy has not looked back since.
Humpy took part in a variety of matches and despite the failures she faced in many games, she continued of with grit and a steely determination. With courage and a desire to pursue her dreams, she eventually paved her way to success.
In 1999, Koneru was crowned Asia’s Youngest Women International Mater. (WIM)
In 2000, she was lauded World’s under-14 girl champion, Oropesa del Mar, Spain.
In 2001, she was crowned India’s youngest Woman Grandmaster. (WGM)
In 2001 itself, she was awarded World Junior Girls Champion, Athens.
In 2003, she was given the ‘Arjuna Award’, one of the most prestigious sports awards in India.
In 2007, Koneru was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest ranking civilian award in India.
Chess is a game of the mind. But Koneru highlights the importance of physical health in having a sharp clear mind. She was quoted saying- “I spend around one hour per day on physical exercise. Exercise is a must for every chess player. As the proverb says, ‘A sound mind in a sound body.’ “

Joshna Chinappa

Blog by: Anuradha Guha
Joshna Chinappa is a professional Indian squash player.
She was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on 15th September, 1986. Playing squash runs in Chinappa’s blood. Her family has been interested and actively participating in the game for more than four generations. Her great-grandfather, Marshall K. M. Cariappa, was the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. He also actively played squash and it was he who started the tradition of playing this game in the family. Chinappa’s father, Anjan Chinappa, like her great-grandfather also regularly plays squash and has represented India in a variety of international games multiple times.
From a very young age, Chinappa was deeply enamored with this game and considered taking it up as a career. She started playing squash at the Madras Cricket Club from the tender age of 8. Due to her extreme interest in the game, though she continued with her studies, she was never really into them.
Till date, she has played 10 senior and 10 junior National Championships. When she was 14 years old, she was awarded the epithet of the Youngest Senior National Champion.
Chinappa was the first Indian to win the British Squash Championship Title in 2003. In 2004 she won the Indian National Senior, Indian National Junior, Malaysian Junior, Asian Championship, at the Hong Kong Event and at the SAF Games in Pakistan. She was also the Runner-Up at British Open Junior. In 2005, Chinappa was the runner-up at World Junior Championships in Belgium. In the same year, she also won the Asian Junior and British Junior Open. In 2009, she was the winner at NCS Series No. 6 (Tour 12). In 2017, she was the winner at the Asian Squash Title. In 2018, Joshna Chinappa won at the Commonwealth Games.
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Chinappa, side by side with Deepika Pallikal Karthik won the squash women’s doubles gold medal, thus making it India’s first Commonwealth Games medal in the sports category.
In spite of her talent, it wasn’t a smooth road for Joshna to reach the place she has today. She was quoted saying- “I chose squash as I was comfortable and there was a sense of familiarity to it.” She has mentioned that she could access the squash courts easily due to her father’s membership, for which she was grateful. But she had to face a problem most sportspersons have to- financial problems.
She couldn’t participate in more than three or four games a year because it was not possible for her family to afford so much travelling expenses. Due to such financial problems, when she got chances to play abroad, she would travel alone since her parents could not afford to come with her every time.
She stresses upon the roles played by parents in helping their children maintain a positive attitude, and as is known, no athlete could succeed with a negative attitude towards the games. She said- “Parents backing is very important.”
She has said in several interviews that she would like to give back to sport. She also highlights that education is extremely important for young people since it is an effective back-up.
She was quoted saying- “I want to help out fellow players and would love to share my knowledge with upcoming players. It would be great to give back to the sport.”

YouWeCan – Yuvraj Singh

Blog By : Ipsa Singh

“The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph.”

The world is full of unexpected surprises that often don’t turn out to be pleasant. There is an organisation that promises to try it’s best to take away the biggest fear of any individual’s life. “ CANCER. “  The foundation is full of life and kindness. You can even call it a lifeline, or to be specific , that’s – YouWeCan for you.

YouWeCan is Yuvraj Singh’s endeavor to combat cancer by spreading awareness about the disease and fighting the stigma attached to it. The national cricketer announced the launch of ‘YouWeCan’, an initiative by the Yuvraj Singh Foundation (YSF), in July 2012. The initiative focuses on all the aspects of the disease including the advantages of early detection. YouWeCan always comes up with interesting ways to educate people on cancer by organizing sports events and fairs and not restrict to seminars and lectures.

Yuvraj Singh is renowned cricketer, who now has turned into an inspiration for those who believe, that cancer is an end to life, for those who stop living life as soon as they get the news, for those who die even before they are dead.

Yuvraj Singh has proved with his battle against success that “It’s not over until it’s Over.”

The YouWeCan initiative was planted while Yuvraj Singh was still in the hospital. He shared his experience with the virtual world as he posted pictures of his treatment and the severe physical changes he was going through, sending one clear message: FIGHT.

YouWeCan focuses on every sector of cancer. Be it creating awareness about its symptoms and chemotherapy procedures or helping educate the kids who are cancer survivors. The organisation is a firm believer of

“Hope and faith may be more firmly built upon charity, than charity upon faith and hope” – Benjamin Franklin.

The foundation Create a conscious environment to fight cancer by inculcating a habit of regular cancer check-ups. To educate all the segments of society about the implications of the disease through affordable campaigns.

Yuvraj Singh Foundation is a non-profit organisation registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act 1950 launched by Yuvraj Singh himself. The organisation is active since 2009 and working for three primary initiatives: Health, Education and Sports. YouWeCan is an effort to support and build awareness in their quest to conquer cancer. These grants will provide substantial funding of devices and adaptation of existing technologies for cancer awareness and detection in low and middle-income areas nationally.

The biggest and the most noted act of this organisation is to provide cancer patients with scholarships . This initiative aims to help the families that are facing a financial crisis due to the expensive and prolonged cancer treatment of their immediate family member by educating their children. This process started on august 7th , 2017.

The initiative taken by the foundation also helps in securing the future of the country as a whole. Youth of a country needs to be protected and cured in order to make a flourished country.

The foundation adheres by the saying, “ Cancer is only going to be a chapter in your life,not the whole story. “

 

The Inspiring Lady- Harmanpreet Kaur

Blog By : Ipsa Singh

“Leadership is not a position and a title. It is an action and an example.”

Harmanpreet Kaur Bhullar, born on 8 th march 1989, in Punjab, Is a part of established Indian
B women, India Green women, Punjab Women (India), Sydney Thunder. She is an all-
rounder cricketer.

She proves that, gone are the days when women were confined to certain petty
stereotypes. She has break through all these filthy holding back chains of the society and is
all set to inspire young women in border of her country and beyond. She is an extremely
extravagant example of perfection. She proves “Hamari chhori kisi chhore se kam nai.” She’s been excelling in her field like a pro. She is the lady hero with taking in her name the renowned and prestigious Arjuna Award, which adds up to explaining how focused she is.

She stands up holding this inspiratory position to so many young girls out there who are
afraid to step out, who are willing to fight against the odds put up by the society. She is that
individual along with her team who outstand the crumbling myth that women aren’t meant
for the physical work, or the field work, or any other manly work.

She is that magnificent lady who has proved that women can be heroines without makeup
and just by sweating it out, out on the fields. She’s defines and represents the potential of
Indian women internationally and stands up firm to first make her country and then her
family Proud.

She’s a path-breaker too, having become the first India cricketer – male or female – to sign a Big Bash League contract with Sydney Thunder in Australia. The deal came about on the back of an impressive showing during India's tour of Australia in January 2016, where she made a 31-ball 46 to script India’s highest-ever T20 chase. In June 2017, she became the first Indian to sign with Surrey Stars in ECB’s Kia Super League. Since then she has been at the center of advertisement campaigns, endorsements and central contracts.

She swears by her idol Virender Sehwag’s mantra of ‘see ball, hit ball.’ She represents the
new-age Indian women's cricket part of a generation. Harmanpreet broke through in 2009, but it wasn’t until 2013 when she stamped her class. Her century against England at the World Cup, albeit in a losing cause, earned her plaudits from opposition captain Charlotte Edwards. Her career graph since has skyrocketed since. In April 2013, she was handed the captaincy when Mithali Raj was rested for the limited-overs series against Bangladesh, making it clear that she is the one in waiting for the job. In November 2016, she replaced Raj as captain of the T20 team for the series against West Indies.

Punjab had offered the DSP post to her in July last following her outstanding performance in
the Women’s World Cup 2017. She yet again defies yet another saying, “not all heroes wear
capes, some where the colour of their country and uniforms too.”
She in true terms inspiring what is known as the better half of creation, “WOMEN.”

 

 

 

 

Aparna Popat : The Winner of Senior Nationals for 9 years in a row

Blog by : Anuradha Guha

Aparna Popat is an Indian ex-badminton player. She was born in Mumbai on 18th January,1978. Her parents were Lalji Popat and Heena Popat. She finished her schooling in J.B. Petit High School and pre-university course in Mount Carmel College, Bangalore. She got a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the Mumbai University.  

Anil Pradhan, a National Champion, was the first to recognize the spark of talent in the 8-yr old Aparna. He was approached by her parents for her training. She started playing from 1986. She was taught many essential skills under his tutelage.  

To further expand her capabilities, she shifted to the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, Bangalore in 1994. Here, she received training under the acclaimed badminton player, Prakash Padukone himself. To enrich her experience further, she shifted to the Sports Authority of India training center at Kengeri, Bangalore. Here, Gangula Prasad was the coach and mentor.  

In 1997, Aparna won her first Senior National title, in Hyderabad. In 1998, she was the winner of the French Open. Also in the same year, she won a silver medal for her performance in the Commonwealth Games held in Kuala Lampur. Aparna went on to win the Senior Nationals for 8 consecutive years. She won her last Senior Nationals in 2006 in Bangalore after defeating 15-year old Saina Nehwal.  

Aparna Popat won the ‘Arjuna Award’ in 2005. Despite facing many hurdles in her career, she made a place for herself in the sports field by sheer determination and courage. Hers, is an inspiring story.  

Aparna was one of the 17 participants to be selected, and the only Indian at that, to be chosen for the Global Sports Mentoring Program, an initiative taken by Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State and espnW. This programe was undertakes by her with vision of empowering women and girls throughout the world.  

The highlights of Aparna Popat’s achievements are- Participation in 2 Olympic Games, 1 Asian Games, 1 Silver medal at the World Junior Championships in 1996 and 4 medals in the 3 Commonwealth Games appearances. She was quoted saying the following about the Commonwealth Games- “The Commonwealth Games mixed doubles is challenging because \Great Britain has a strong team. So mixed doubles will be a little dicey, but I believe we have a shot a Gold Medal across five categories. 

Popat’s career was greatly influenced by the co9ntribution of her coaches. When her first coach, Anil Pradhan saw her play, he told her parents-“Give me this girl to train and I will put her on the map of India.” Popats also advises parents to trust their children’s coaches. She says- “It is important to trust coaches and their plans. Any negative comments on the coach or the politics of the sport in the child’s presence may have an adverse effect on his or her growth.” She also highlights the important role parents play in their children’s lives. She was quoted saying- “What parents say touches a chord with kids, which is why you have to choose your words carefully while communicating with children.”