These women have already made an indelible mark in their sports, and are on their way to achieving something bigger. As we celebrate Indian women in sports, we bring to you those who are pegged to be the next big ones
Her first takeaway from playing physical games at a young age, apart from having fun, was that it is an instant mood uplifter. Soon, she realised that one needs a certain inner passion to dedicate time, effort and energy to a sport, and she had that in spades. No wonder then that she went on to become an international taekwondo athlete, winning gold at the 13th South Asian Games at Kathmandu in 2019, the National Championships in Punjab, also in 2019, and the Malaysia Open Taekwondo Championships in 2018. Kashish Malik distinctly remembers watching WWE games and martial arts programmes on TV, which only strengthened her interest in taekwondo. “It is an unconventional sport and, in India, it was viewed as a more masculine sport,” she states.
“Taekwondo is an unconventional sport, and in India, it was viewed as a more masculine sport”
“An athlete faces uncountable hurdles there alone, let alone the financial challenges.” She also needed to be bold and strong enough, since people around her did not care much for her choosing this sport. Rejections came in due to lack of support towards the sport in general, and then her gender. “There are people who are waiting to break you down mentally and emotionally; I have learned that the outcome depends on how you take it,” recalls the 21-year-old matter-of-factly. “That’s why I use the rejections, failures and insulting situations to strengthen my resolve.” It also helped her gain some perspective and maturity over time. The sum total of all her efforts has resulted in special winning moments that have vindicated her passion. “Winning my very first game title convinced me that I could achieve many more,” she says. “I knew I could do it, but that was the boost I needed; my journey had started.”
Kashish’s future goals include bringing more recognition to her sport in the country and changing perspectives towards it, apart from playing more and winning laurels. From her own experience, she firmly believes that playing a sport helps build personality, leading a person to become a better version of themselves. “You become stronger, not only physically but also mentally. It has helped me lead a better, more disciplined life, and I love how I can inspire others and spread awareness about it. I wish all girls pursuing sport very good luck. The key lies in being fearless and accepting the challenges. Most importantly, trust the process and enjoy it.”
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