The article is sponsored by the Welspun Foundation for Health and Knowledge.
Getting up before dawn, training hard, wounding the body and sacrificing countless sacrifices – when it comes to an athlete, there are many other things hidden behind the medals and medals that come with medals.
But when it comes to an Indian women athlete, the challenges like discrimination and old thinking of people on the basis of gender doubles. In such a situation, not only hard work and hard work is needed, but also hard work, as well as perseverance, is needed so that this discrimination can be responded to and achieve everything that they are entitled to.
The Welspun Foundation for Health and Knowledge is working for similar women athletes. This foundation ensures that such talent is not lost due to lack of access or opportunity. The Welspun Foundation for Health and Knowledge has launched the ‘Welspun Super Sport Women’s Program’ (WSSW), to empower women athletes in India. Her mission is to guide and promote promising young women sportspersons, through mentorship and financial support, at various stages of the sport, from the ground level to the national level and the international level.
The Foundation encourages young women athletes who have faced many challenges to achieve this milestone. Let us introduce you to some such female athletes:
- Eyelid Kohli
About five years ago, Palak Kohli was trying to play handball with his friends at school. Because Palak has a deformity in his left hand since birth, one of his teachers advised him not to go into the field of sports.
Five years ago, when Palak had no connection with the game, Palak recalls, “The teacher said that maybe the game may not have been made for me.” I may hurt my other hand while playing. He said that I should concentrate on studies and later, college and then get a job using the Divyang Kota for the job. ”
Palak got very upset after listening to what the teacher said. She says that she was quite surprised thinking how someone else can decide their fate or how someone can tell them what they have to do.
A year later, in 2017 she began training to play badminton and in the year 2020, became the youngest para-badminton player in the world to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics.
Talking about how the 18-year-old para-athlete’s life changed, Palak says, “I didn’t choose badminton, it felt like he had chosen me.” One day, while I was walking out of a mall with my mother, a stranger questioned us about my left hand. After this, he told me about Para-Badminton and also told me how I can be the best player for this game. They asked me to consider and gave their number to contact. Although it was a small incident, it affected me deeply. Because, that stranger was the first person to say that I have the ability to do more. Months later, I contacted that stranger and this man named Gaurav Khanna agreed to give me para-badminton coaching and my life changed forever. ”
Today, she is the sports captain at the same school and is undergoing rigorous training to perform better in the upcoming 2021 ‘Tokyo Paralympics’.
2. Aarti Patil and Jyoti Patil
Aarti and Jyoti of Mumbai, two twin sisters, are excellent swimmers. He has won 55 national medals at the age of just 23. To make a career in sports, Aarti and Jyoti have got a lot of support from their family and both of them consider it a boon to be born in such a family.
Aarti, who has won 30 national medals so far, says, “We were about nine months old when our father first introduced us to swimming.” He is an excellent swimmer and in 2003 he completed a sea marathon in Greece, in 13 hours and 10 minutes. He has always been an inspiration to us. Seeing them, at the age of only four, we also tried to do sea-swimming. ”
Patil is a great swimmer in the family, from parents to children. For members of this family, ‘swimming’ is more than a sport. It is a way of living life with discipline, hard work, patience and sportsmanship.
Jyoti, who carries 25 national medals, says, “Our father is a constable in the Mumbai Police. Every day, after completing his night duty, he returns in the morning and pays full attention to our training. Our training starts at 6.30 am and continues till 11 am. The training starts again at six in the evening and continues till eight in the night. This has been our daily routine for the last several years and it is discipline that has helped us win. ”
3. Suvarna Raj
39-year-old international para-athlete Suvarna Raj says, “At every point in my life, I have had to struggle. Be it in my educational institution, there is a demand for accessibility for the differently-abled like me or for the provision of equal opportunities and resources. These demands of mine are a continuous effort to create a better world for everyone. ”
Suvarna is an inspiration to many across the country. She is also a mother, para-table-tennis player, activist, social worker and an accessibility counselor. Through her work in these various fields, she is making a lasting impression.
Suvarna, who won two medals and several international awards at the ‘Thailand Para Table Tennis Open 2013’, says, “I knew at a young age that my life was going to be tough.” I was two years old when I got polio in both my legs. However, this meant that I would now have to resort to a wheelchair. But, this did not stop me from pursuing my passion for the game. My parents admitted me to a hostel at a very young age and I spent a full decade there. During this time I continued to work on myself. I always reminded myself that it is difficult but not impossible. ”
He never limited his work to just table tennis courts. He has spent many years advocating for the accessibility and access of Divyangs to public places. He has also received several awards for these efforts. These include ‘National Women’s Excellence Award for Sports’ in 2013, ‘Karmaveer Award’ by ICONGO in 2015 and the prestigious ‘National Center for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) – Mphasis Universal Design Award’ (MUDA) in 2017 .
She says, “I am my own role model.” When others doubt my ability, it encourages me to do better and prove them wrong! ”
The inspiring stories of these young women are testimony to the unending battles won with determination and courage.
Through the #LeapBeyond campaign, WSSW looks forward to bringing positive change and providing inspiration. It is a scholarship program aimed at empowering the next generation of players. Currently, they are providing scholarships to 27 women athletes from 14 different sports.