Indian women athletes have written some glorious chapters in Asian Games history. As the 19th edition of the event gets underway in Hangzhou, China, let us recall some of them. (Full Coverage | Schedule & Streaming | Asian Games)
Roshan Mistry (Track and Field)
During the 1951 Asian Games in New Delhi, India's Roshan Mistry scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a medal when she won the 100m silver. Japan’s Kiyoko Sugimura clinched gold with a time of 12.6 seconds, and Mistry clocked 12.8 seconds. The Mumbai-born Mistry was one of six Indian women who went on to claim individual medals at the 1951 Asian Games that also included Mary D’Souza, Barbara Webster, Marie Semoes and Sylvia Gauntlet.
PT Usha (Track and Field)
Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha, or simply PT Usha, was arguably the greatest Asian athlete of her time. She warmed up with two silvers (100m and 200m) in her debut Asian Games in Delhi in 1982, when she was just 18. Four years later in Seoul, South Korea, she was at her peak. The Payyoli Express went on to record four golds and one silver as she scripted her name in history books. In all, Usha won a staggering 11 medals in Asian Games, her last being a 4x400m relay silver at the 1994 Hiroshima Games.
Kamaljeet Sandhu (Track And Field)
During the 1970 Asian Games in Bangkok, India's Kamaljeet Sandhu created history by becoming the first Indian woman athlete to win a gold medal. Sandhu achieved this feat in the 400m, which she ran in 57.3 seconds. Sandhu held the national record in the 400m and 200m for more than a decade until it was broken by Rita Sen from Kolkata and later by Usha.
Seema Punia (Discus Throw)
Haryana-born Seema Punia announced herself on to the world stage when she won a bronze at the 2002 World Junior Championships in the discus throw event. After her heroics at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Punia landed gold at the 2014 Asian Games. In the 2018 Asian Games, despite her best efforts, Punia could not repeat the same heroics and had to settle for a bronze.
Heena Sidhu (Shooting)
Ludhiana-born Heena Sidhu was studying dentistry at college but her hobby for shooting was too strong to turn away from. Heena began her career in 2006 with participation in junior and later senior teams. In 2009, she landed her first medal (silver) at the ISSF World Cup in Beijing and followed it up with a silver at the 2010 Asian Games in the Women's 10m pistol team event. Heena is an Arjuna awardee (2014) as well.