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PHOTOS: India's 10 most stunning and fashionable sportswomen

March 14, 2014 15:48 IST

PHOTOS: India's 10 most stunning and fashionable sportswomen

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Rediff Sports Desk

Rediff.com brings you the glamorous side of Indian sportswomen. While these ladies have charmed their fans with their playing skills, their stunning looks attracted more attention.

Sharmila Nicollet, Golf

This glamorous golfer wants to make her sport a household name in the country. With her stunning looks and persona she certainly will succeed in her goal.

Nicollet hopes to use her snappy fashion and strong game as a bait to attract youngsters to the sport.

A multi-talented persona in the sporting arena, she was a sub-junior swimming champion at State and National aquatic meets.

Born to a French father and Indian mother, she always had golf close to her heart, and at the age of 11 played her first tournament on the greens.

At 16 she was the youngest lady golfer to win the All-India Ladies Amateur Championship, in 2007-2008.

She turned pro in 2009 and soon after, in 2010, was crowned the WGAI Professional Player of the Year.

The 21-year-old became the youngest Indian golfer to qualify for Ladies European Tour (LET) 2012 with a full tour card and retained her LET card for the second successive year in 2013.

This sexy golfer hopes to one day win a tournament on the European tour, qualify for the LPGA, and realise her ‘ultimate dream is to become World No 1’!


Image: Golfer Sharmila Nicollet plays a shot on the greens
Photographs: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

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Jawala Gutta, Badminton

She is known as the queen of controversy, but that doesn’t stop her from dressing up to kill!

Keeping in mind her fiery image and pretty face, Gutta did a tantalizing photo-shoot for the July 2012 edition of Man magazine.

In fact, she is the epitome of a strong, modern Indian woman who doesn't hold back, even saying she is better than Indian No 1 and London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal.

She had the guts to take a stand against the Badminton Association of India officials and fought a lone battle with National coach Pullela Gopichand.

This 29-year-old's on-court successes have been overshadowed by the  bold persona, but let's take nothing away from this champion who has some major accolades to her name, including a bronze in the 2011 World Championships (women's doubles) and a silver (mixed doubles) and gold (women's doubles) at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Earlier this year she was roped in to do an item song for a Telugu film, titled Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde.


Image: Jwala Gutta
Photographs: Indian Badminton League

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Sania Mirza, Tennis

This Hyderabadi is the original pin-up girl of Indian sport.

In fact, it is she who officially put the modern Indian sportswoman on the international radar. 

A strong-headed lady, she defied cynics and married Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik in 2010, making it one of the most talked about marriage alliances in the history of both nations.

At 16, she grabbed the nation's attention while winning almost everything on the tennis courts.

An Arjuna awardee, she is the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament, the 2005 US Open.

At the 2006 Doha Asian Games, Mirza clinched gold in mixed doubles, silver in women's singles and the team event.

In 2009 she won her first Grand Slam title, partnering Bhupathi to claim the Australian Open.

In 2012 she again joined Bhupathi to win her second Grand Slam title, with victory at the French Open.


Image: Sania Mirza
Photographs: Jumana El-Heloueh/Reuters

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Saina Nehwal, Badminton

The super-talented shuttler has many firsts to her credit, and takes her good looks only as complimentary.

For now this 23-year-old has remained unaffected by the glamour world and continues to concentrate on her sport.

Like Sania Mirza, Saina shot to fame at the age of 16 when she became the first Indian woman to win a 4-star tournament, the Philippines Open.

The Haryana-born athlete gradually made her mark globally, winning the World Junior Championships in 2008.

Success saw her climb the rankings and she rose to No 2 in 2010.

The same year she was conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India's highest honour for achievement in sports.

India's highest-paid non-cricketing sportsperson, she proved she was meant for the badminton court when she clinched the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics.


Image: Saina Nehwal
Photographs: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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Dipika Pallikal, Squash

This 22-year-old took to squash quite accidentally and started her international career at the tender age of 12. She turned pro in 2006 and met with mixed success.

Her stunning looks won her a modeling contract with Globus Ltd.

An avid shopper, high street brands like Zara, H&M and Top Shop are among some of her favourites.

She was also featured on the cover of JWF magazine.

The Chennai lass wasn't receiving too many accolades on the squash court. She started to taste real success only as late as 2011 when she won three WISPA (Women's International Squash Players Association) titles.

In the same year she became the first Indian woman to break into the top-20 of the world rankings, bettering the No 27 rank held by former National champion Misha Grewal.

Her consistency on court was rewarded with the Arjuna award last year, and in December 2012 she became the first Indian squash player to be ranked No 10 in the world.


Image: Dipika Pallikal
Photographs: Courtesy: Dipika Pallikal/Twitter
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Ashwini Ponnappa, Badminton

Ashwini Ponnappa is a force to reckon with in doubles, and when it comes to strutting her wares on the badminton court, this 24-year-old sets temperatures soaring.

This Bangalore girl is frank in asserting that India's badminton doubles players don't get recognition they deserve, which can be demotivating.

At just 12 years of age, she made waves in the national badminton circuit. Under the guidance of former All-England champion Prakash Padukone she won the National junior championship in 2001.

She clinched her maiden major title when she struck gold at the South Asian Games in 2006.

To further her career, she was advised to shift to Hyderabad and team up with Jwala Gutta. She made the adjustment and the dividends paid off when four years later she and Gutta to brought more honours to India, clinching gold at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

The pair later won a bronze at the World Championships last year, which only broadened her disarming smile.


Image: Ashwini Ponnappa
Photographs: Indian Badminton League

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Mitali Raj, Cricket

She is just 30 of age and already regarded as a cricket legend.

Making bowlers and fielders dance to her tune comes naturally to this champion cricketer, considering she learnt Indian classical dance, Bharat Natyam, during her childhood.

The captain of the Indian team, she impressed fans and critics right from her debut match against Ireland in 1999, at the tender age of 17.

Today, she can easily be called the Tendulkar of women's cricket, considering the plethora of records against her name.

An ardent fan of Mark Waugh, Mithali was ranked No 1 in One-Day Internationals last month.


Image: Mitali Raj


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Vidya Pillai, Snooker

At 36, Vidya Pillai is an eight-time women’s National snooker champion.

This Bangalore lady won the bronze medal at the 2012 IBSF World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

She was introduced to cue sport by chance at the age of 21 by her good friend Hemang Badani,  a former India cricketer, who took her to a snooker parlour after scoring a Ranji Trophy century.

The rest, as they say, is history, after she won her first national crown in 2002.

Quiz her about the glamour quotient in cue sports and pat comes the reply: 'Glamour doesn’t mean players have to wear skimpy clothes. Even the suit that we wear now can be made more stylish!'

We are not denying.


Image: Vidya Pillia
Photographs: Courtesy: Cuesports India

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Geeta Phogat, Wrestler

Born in a family of wrestlers, this Jat woman has the distinction of being the first Indian woman wrestler to qualify for the Olympics.

Her talent has garnered her many international laurels, and her charming smile many fans.

She won three consecutive medals in the Asian Cadet Championships in 2003, 2004 and 2005, before clinching the Commonwealth Championship in 2009.

She catapulted to fame after winning the gold medal in the 55 kg freestyle category at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.


Image: Geeta Phogat
Photographs: Ajay Verma/Reuters

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Heena Sidhu, Shooting

This markswoman can shoot from her eyes too. These days she is busy savouring the attention from fellow competitors.

And why not!

Heena Sidhu is the first pistol shooter from India to win the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup. In Munich last November, she beat double Olympic Champion Guo Wenjun from China, World champion Arunovic Zorana from Serbia and multiple Olympic medallist Olena Kostevych of Ukraine after stiff competition to emerge triumphant.

Anjali Bhagwat (2002) and Gagan Narang (2008) had earlier won gold medals in the ISSF World Cup in small bore rifle shooting.

The 24-year-old, who married former India shooter Ronak Pandit last year, made her Olympic debut at London in 2012 and missed qualification for the 10m air pistol final round.

The road leading to Rio de Janeiro Olympics 2016 promises to be different. 


Image: India's Heena Sidhu
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters

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