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Making a breakthrough for sportswomen in India

Making a breakthrough for sportswomen in India

Hima Das is the first Indian track athlete to have won a gold medal in the women’s 400 metres event at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Finland’s Tampere. A great achievement for this 18-year-old, it was a huge glorious moment for India. Fellow Goans share their words of encouragement for the sportswomen of India in an exclusive with Café

Athlete Hima Das created history by becoming the first Indian woman to win the gold medal in the women’s 400 metres event at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Finland’s Tampere. Hima registered a time of 51.46 seconds in the final at the Ratina Stadium to become the first Indian athlete to win gold in a world championship across all age groups. The winning streak of her reaching the finishing line gave goosebumps to fellow Indians and it was an emotional moment to see her in tears during the National Anthem.

Charmaine Jessica Fernandes from Ribandar, a basketball player, says, “Hima Das has made every Indian girl proud. Coming from a very poor family, she proved that all that matters is hard work and dedication. She clinched the first medal for India in track events and created history, becoming an inspiration for every young talent.”

Swetlana Andrade from Loutolim is a table tennis player who feels that the motivation for a girl child starts at home. “I feel proud to see Hima Das winning gold at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships. These athletes have been practising since childhood and it is the fruit of their hard work and sacrifice. Sometimes parents themselves don’t encourage their daughters to take part in sports activities. This is a big example of how a girl can achieve so much recognition on a global platform,” says Swetlana.

Joseph Rodrigues is the General Secretary of Traditional Karate Association of Goa and was one of the first to take to social media to say, “Who says we cannot produce world champions. Hima Das. Dipa Karmakar. Why from 1.3 billion we cannot find champions? Croatia’s population is less than that of Pune. With the right training and proper backing we can do anything. Let’s wake up India.” Always encouraging women to take karate more seriously, Joseph is hoping that this achievement will translate into women in Goa getting more competitive. “I feel women in sports should be given equal rights and equal opportunities. It’s a big thing when I see the women and girls who I know doing well in sports. We will be now organising an All Girls Karate Tournament, the first in Goa, called the Governor’s Cup, which will be held on July 28, 2018 at Peddem Grounds, Mapusa. The competition will be held in U-14, U-17 and U-19 category,” says Joseph.

For me, who was the first to take up the cause of the Girl Child since 1998, this feat is an endorsement of the greatness and wide reach of a girl child’s prowess. Our hearts swell with patriotism as we see our Indian World Champion Hima Das’s eyes brim with tears of pride for her country, India, hearing our National Anthem and seeing our beloved flag flying high in honour of her magnificent feat! So proud of you great Girl Child of India! This is just the start. It feels so great that this feat is being given the recognition it deserves.



I am very happy to learn about Hima Das’s achievement on the track on social media but I feel this encouragement should continue and not phase out after a while. The support they are showing her and fellow sportswomen should be constant. Many women are proving themselves everyday in their respective sports but it is not in the limelight.



It is a great feeling as an Indian to see Hima Das performing so well at an international level. She will be a motivation and encouragement for girls to take up sports seriously. There are many great sportswomen in India, however, even after reaching the national level, they don’t pursue the sport at an International level due to several reasons. Every sportswomen should be encouraged to give their best.

RIHA SHINDE,Judo Practitioner


This article was first published on Herald Cafe on 18 JUL 2018

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