Rio Olympics

PV SINDHU AND SAKSHI MALIK FOUGHT LIKE WOMEN AND WE DON’T MEAN JUST IN THE OLYMPICS

Words: Steffi Mac

For a country that has witnessed the most shocking, nightmare-‘ish’ and honest-to-goodness nerve wrecking cases of women abuses, women empowerment usually feels like a theory in the books that never finds its place in the streets. And this is exactly why the twin victories of Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu in the Olympics really matter. For this anointed period the shameful treatment that is meted out to the women at large is forgotten, India makes swift moves in adopting their focused and gritty ‘daughters’ while the general sense of awakened nationality takes over (albeit temporarily) patriarchy and gender discrimination that the country is passively fighting since forever.

So before every other news report over the next few weeks begin to blur our memories of the Olympics, we need to sit and take a break for a minute. As Indians we need to own this moment and cherish it because what India managed to do this time is something that went unrecognized for long.

Gymnastics, wrestling and badminton; three forms of sports that are absolutely driven on one’s core strength, stamina, flexibility and immense motivation, gave us three women athletes that now stand as icons to the progress of women’s sports in the nation.

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The rise of these athletes and the others is proof as to how women will rise up and crush patriarchy every time it tries to push them down. Which is why, there have been consistent reports on Malik hailing from a region in Haryana that has the most painful gender ratio and female foeticide cases.

PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik have lifted the sullen mood of the nation. And although the nation’s performance in the Olympics is a stark drop from London 2012, there are a lot of positives to draw inspiration from while preparing for the next bout.

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PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik have lifted the sullen mood of the nation. And although the nation’s performance in the Olympics is a stark drop from London 2012, there are a lot of positives to draw inspiration from while preparing for the next bout.

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Sakshi Malik poses with her bronze medal
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But in this rigmarole of celebrations and counting the awards and cash prizes these deserving women are awarded each day, we need to get a grip on our emotions and realize that this must only be the beginning to a change in India. This must not work as finality.

It’d be really shameful if PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar only became a page in our sports history with casual mentions of being the most ‘Googled Athletes’ by Indians in 2016. We need to get over our obsession that tempts us to barge into their personal lives via media hawks or grin about what they had for dinner after winning their medals.

This is much larger and beyond all these trivial appetizers that we are served on our plates every day. This is the dawn and the rise of several other sports that need our attention and these women have done a great job in answering the ‘why’.

Let’s see to it that they stay alive in our memories and reflect in our attitudes towards all forms of sports as much as the Cricket World Cup is lush green in our heads even today.

We must never forget what they did for us, how hard they fought and what it made us feel while we watched them do that

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Steffi Mac is a co-founder of digtoknow.com A lecturer by profession and a writer by chance, Steffi is an ardent reader and a self-confessed food addict.
She can be reached at: steffimac@gmail.com.