Bollywood bats for women athletes post stellar Rio Olympics performance

  • Prashant Singh, Hindustan TImes, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 22, 2016 19:18 IST
Athletes PV Sindhu, Dipa Karmakar, Aditi Ashok and Sakshi Malik made India proud at the Rio Olympics. (PTI)

Wrestler Sakshi Malik opened India’s medal account at the Rio Olympics. Shuttler PV Sindhu became the only Indian woman to bag a silver at the event.

Dipa Karmakar created history by becoming the first Indian woman to reach the final round in gymnastics, and 18-year-old golfer, Aditi Ashok, made the world sit up and take notice of her talent.

Read: What Big B and other celebs said about ‘golden girl’ Sindhu’s Olympics silver

In an otherwise lacklustre performance by the Indian contingent at the Olympics, the country’s honour was restored at Rio by the grit of a few women. Here, we talk to some Bollywood actors about the need to support Indian women in the world of sports.

Hrithik Roshan says there is a need to continue with improvements in infrastructure and boosting sports that are not currently perceived as “mainstream”.

Hrithik Roshan

“There is no doubt that, in the past decade or so, Indian sportswomen have been on their way to become a force to reckon with. Sportswomen such as Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal have already made us proud. With the recent victories at Rio, we need to continue improving our infrastructure and promoting sports that are not currently perceived as ‘mainstream’. Be it wrestling, gymnastics, golf or track & field, they all came into the limelight because of Indian sportswomen. Let’s salute these role models, believe in them, and celebrate the spirit of their achievement.”

High point: “The achievements of PV Sindhu, and Sakshi Malik winning the first medal for India in women’s wrestling, Dipa Karmakar in the women’s vault gymnastics, and of course, 18-year-old Aditi Ashok qualifying for the golf final.”

Ayushmann Khurrana says there’s a need to pump in more money into sports, to fire nincompoop officials, and get in more experts like Pullela Gopichand. (Runal Kalsekar)

Ayushmann Khurrana

“It is a shame that we have a higher rate of crimes against women as compared to many other countries. It is also ironical that Haryana, the state with maximum prejudice against women and a dismal sex ratio, produces so many medal-winning female athletes. The immediate step would be to pump in more money into sports, to fire nincompoop officials, who travel with the athletes to foreign destinations just to party and have no clue about sports, and get in more experts like Pullela Gopichand.”

High point: “I loved that the whole nation came together to support our athletes. The best moment was when PV Sindhu was fighting for a gold model.”

Bhumi Pednekar feels that sports should be given as much importance as academics in our educational institutions. (Rohan Shrestha)

Bhumi Pednekar

“Of late Indian parents have started realising the value of sports as a career for boys and girls. Sports should be given as much importance as academics in our educational institutions, and the government must provide sportspersons with better facilities. With good healthcare, nutrition and training, they can achieve a lot more.”

High point: “Sakshi Malik winning her medal in wrestling. All the girls are so inspirational.”

Arjun Kapoor feels that the Olympics are just another example of how India has to get rid of the discrimination against females. (Atul Kasbekar)

Arjun Kapoor

“Women and men are equal. The Olympics have just proved, once again, that India has to get rid of the discrimination [against women] from all walks of life. I would love to see the government set up a fund for the athletes that compete in the various tournaments every year.”

High point: “Our athletes putting in their blood and sweat, and we, as a nation, showing them that we care.”

Raj Kummar Rao says being a sportsman, he “could connect with all our Olympians”.

Raj Kummar Rao

“I have always believed in women power when it comes to sports or any other field. I wish the country and the government gives enough support to sportspersons, including women, in order to help them compete even better in the future. They are our true heroes.”

High point: “The way Dipa, Sakshi, Aditi, Sindhu and Khushbir Kaur performed were all highlights for me.

Sushant Singh Rajput says there’s a need to “get rid of our age-old conservative mindsets about women’s ‘duties’ and ‘role’ in our lives”.

Sushant Singh Rajput

“Women were never the weaker sex. If they can give birth to a new life, they can also bring to life a lot of dreams and achievements. It is time we let them fly high in the world of sports too. First, we need to get rid of our age-old conservative mindsets about women’s ‘duties’ and ‘roles’ in our lives.”

High point: “PV Sindhu giving Carolina Marin such great competition. It was like a masterclass in badminton.”

For Sunny Leone, the high point of the Olympics was Sakshi Malik winning a medal. (Yogen Shah)

Sunny Leone

“I have always believed that women should be treated as equals, especially if they are good at what they do. If any young girl or guy wants to compete in the Olympics, they just need to work hard. No one can ever take that away from you.”

Read: Dipa Karmakar is a fan of Hrithik, he insists he’s ‘bigger fan’ of hers

High point: “Sakshi Malik winning a medal was a high point for me, and also Michael Phelps (swimmer) winning again. I am always a fan of both India and USA.

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