As we celebrate International Women's day on March 8, meet the Indian sportswomen who have made the nation proud with their superlative performances in the sporting arena:
Mithali Dorai Raj, also known as India's greatest female batter, hails from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Her career in international cricket is almost two-decades-long with several achieved milestones in between. The 39-year old batter is the only captain in India to have led the side to two 50-over World Cup finals.
She is the highest run-scorer in women's international cricket and the only female cricketer to surpass the 7,000 run mark in Women's ODI matches. Raj also became the first player to score seven consecutive half-centuries in ODIs.
In June 2018 during the 2018 Women's Twenty20 Asia Cup, she became the first player from India to score 2000 runs in T20Is, and also became the first woman cricketer to reach 2000 WT20I runs. In September 2019, Raj bowed out from the T20I cricket to focus on the 50-over format.
She has been conferred with Arjuna Award in 2003, Padma Shri in 2015, Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World in 2017, and Major Dhyanchand Khel Ratna in 2021, by the government of India.
PV Sindhu is one of the finest athletes that India has produced and she has held the national flag high at many events, including the Olympics. She is the only Indian to become the Badminton World Champion and only the second individual athlete from India to win two consecutive medals at the Olympic Games.
The shuttler has also won a silver medal each at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 Asian Games, and two bronze medals at the Uber Cup.
Sindhu has also been awarded Arjuna Award and Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna in the past, along with India's fourth-highest civilian award, the Padma Shri.
She has also been conferred with the Padma Bhushan.
With her unrelenting drive to win, it took Mary Kom little time to storm the highest summits of Indian boxing.
On the international arena, she announced her arrival by winning a silver medal at the World Boxing Championships in 2001.
Mary Kom followed it up with a gold in 2002 - the first of her six world championships over the years.
As it stands, she is the most successful women's boxer in the history of the competition. Ireland's Katie Taylor - a London 2012 lightweight gold medallist - won it five times.
Mary Kom also has a bronze to her name at the event, taking her total medals tally to eight -- more than any boxer, men's or women's, in history.
But the most important win for the Indian pugilist came in 2012 when she won a bronze medal in the London Olympics.
Mary Kom also holds the distinction of being the first Indian woman boxer to win an Asian Games gold in 2014 and a Commonwealth Games gold in 2018. She is also a five-time Asian champion.
Avani Lekhara is one of the finest Paralympians in India. Currently, World No 2 in Women's 10m Air Rifle standing SH1, Avani has made the nation proud on many occasions.
She won a gold medal in 10m air rifle standing and a bronze medal in 50m rifle 3 positions at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Lekhara is the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold medal. Later, she also competed 2020 Summer Paralympics and won a gold medal. With a score of 249.6 points in the final event, the young shooter set a Paralympic record and tied the world record.
She has been conferred with the Khel Ratna Award in 2021 and Padma Shri Award in 2022 by the government of India.
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu
India's campaign at the Tokyo Olympics started off on the best possible note. The Manipuri weightlifter bagged a silver medal for India on the opening day of the prestigious showpiece event in the 49 Kg weight category lifting 202 Kg (87+115) (including both snatch and clean & jerk).
Mirabai shrugged off her Rio Olympics disappointment where she failed to lift even a single clean and jerk in three attempts. She has won gold medals for India in World Champions as well as Commonwealth Games.
The 28-year-old bagged her first Commonwealth Games medal in Glasgow in 2014 by winning a silver in the 48 Kg weight category. In Rio Olympics 2016 she failed but bounced back two years later to win a gold medal in the 2017 World Championship.
She carried it with her rich run of form to win a gold medal in Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018. But her real test came in 2021 in Tokyo Olympics when she bounced back from her previous Olympics debacle to become the first India weightlifter to win a silver medal in the Olympics and only the second Indian weightlifter to win an Olympic medal after Karnam Malleswari who won a bronze in Sydney Olympics 2000.
These women sports personalities have set examples for standing out of the crowd and showing that female empowerment is important because it is essential that women are able to do everything they set their motivations on.