London Olympics 2012 was many things, it saw great wins and losses, cheer and fun, enthusiasm, energy and pride. Things that the ancient Greek traditional games always brought out in people – the games were and are almost a Catharsis of Sophocles-ian dimensions, one could muse. But what stood out in 2012 were the women participants, not just from the Indian delegation but from the world over. For the first time since the Ancient or the revived Modern Olympics, for once all nations included women in their contingent. This very spirit of recognizing and celebrating woman began during the opening ceremony itself, as two sportswomen dressed in veils walked under the Saudi Flag.
The Indian contingent of 83 included 23 women of whom two would make us proud. The rest, people generally say ‘is history.’ History it is, but not just of medals won, but the struggle that went behind these achievements – a history that generally goes undocumented in our country. Both these women Saina Nehwal for Badminton and Mary Kom for Boxing won Bronze Medals, history will state in facts and statistics – that it shall in Libraries and Congress (not to be confused with the Indian National Party but is in reference to its original meaning as delegations of a nation or nations.)
History will not tell you how Saina Nehwal’s parents borrowed money to keep her training going. It will not tell you that many coaches wrote her off as mediocre and refused to train her. That she had to maintain a grueling exercise routine and give up on chocolates, a self-confessed Sweet tooth – it must have been devastating for a 13 year old girl! Her climb from an early age was steady with wins and close misses. But at the end perseverance paid off. We at USHA, are proud to have her as our Brand Ambassador.
Then there is Magnificent Mary from Manipur (Northeast India) where even living is a struggle given the region’s underdevelopment and unrest. Good training facilities are a distant dream. And let’s admit it for once racism exists and adds further hurdles to a sportsperson’s struggle: There were times when organizers doubted Mary Kom to be a foreign participant (Chinese or even Burmese), almost refusing her into the games and this happened at Indian tournaments!
Add to this the struggle of being a mother of two and you have impossibility staring at you, right between your eyes. But she did it. How? You question. Well, not to give away any spoilers watch the upcoming movie Mary Kom. It’s a movie without any fabrications, one that made the legendary Boxer for once break down and cry, as she watched her struggles and wins pass by on the silver screen.