Haryana is infamous for female foeticide and patriarchal mindset but when it comes to representation in the world’s greatest sporting arena – Olympics — the state’s women outshine men.
Haryana has maximum contribution to the Indian contingent for the Rio Olympics in Brazil. Of the 120 athletes, highest ever the country is going to send, 21 are from the northern state. And 12 of them — six in hockey, three in wrestling, and two in athletics and one in swimming — are women, most of them from the hinterland.
For the first time, three Indian women wrestlers — Sakshi Malik, Babita Phogat and Vinesh Phogat — have made to Olympics and all three belong to Haryana. The 16-member women’s hockey squad announced on Tuesday includes six from the state. Seasoned Deepika Thakur is vice-captain. Rani Rampal, Navjot Kaur and Monika are products of the Shahabad academy, while goalkeeper Savita Punia and Poonam Mailk are from the Hisar training centre.
Discus thrower Seema Anilt Punia will compete in her third Olympics and quarter miler Nirmala Sheron will debut in Rio. Gurgaon’s Shivani Kataria will represent the country in swimming. The previous edition of the Summer Games in London featured 16 players from Hayrana, including only five women.