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In India, in the days gone by, when the men roughed it out in the field,
women were content to stand aside and watch. The same era has
produced women who counted themselves as equals, excelled in
their sport, and brought glory to their nation. Pune has its own share
of sportswomen. Here's what they have to say about themselves,
their sport and the lessons they have learnt.

ARNAWAZ DAMANIA

SPORT : Hockey, India (1951-1961)
Secretary, Indian Women's Hockey Association (1979-1982)

" I thrive on challenges"
" Everybody must find time for sports. Sports help a child to concentrate, besides building stamina."
" The corporate world can help to set up sports complexes zone wise. The government should assure such companies of tax exemption. Moreover, incentives should be given to successful ex-sports persons, so that they come forward to impart training and advise to aspiring sportsmen and women.

SHUBHANGI KULKARNI

SPORT : Cricket, India (1976-1991)
Executive Committee of the Women's Cricket Association of India

" I used to play cricket with the boys in our gully. Cricket is always what I wanted to play"
" Sports has equipped me to face hardships, deal with tricky situations, handle different kinds of people and rough it out it adverse conditions. You become street smart!"
" Our team is certainly good and they can reach the top, provided they are exposed to more international matches."
" If you set your mind on something and focus on it, there is no reason why you can't achieve your goal. Hard work and sacrifice are the key words. I was totally focussed and I never thought of relaxing and enjoying life."

SMITA YADAV

SPORT : Rowing, India (1983-1990)
First woman umpire in India

" Once the rowing bug bites you, there's no stopping. I thought that if I could get a bronze medal with a little practice, surely the gold would be mine if I put in a lot more effort."

NAMRATA SHAH

SPORT : HOCKEY, India (1980-1984)

" Just to prove to people that marriage need not stop a sports person from achieving success, I decided to make a comeback to hockey in 1989'
'" I used to watch seniors from the team wearing their blazers and the national colours and I knew then that I wanted to be like them. That was tremendous motivation for me."
" Not everyone can be a winner. To be a winner, there has to be an inborn trait first. The attitude, the physical aptitude, hard work and parental support which are also a must, follow thereafter"

MANJIRI BOKIL

SPORT : Taekwondo and Karate

" I love martial and that's all that matters".
" I was actually on my way to Tilak swimming pool and since the road that I usually took was closed for some reason, I took the Law College instead. I happened to see a board for Taekwondo lessons and I decided to check out the place."
" I wish parents would research the credibility of classes before enrolling their children into martial arts training. Many classes do not have the basic safety requirements and therefore accidents can occur."
" An individual has to be mature enough to understand the responsibility of a black belt.
Kids below 18 are not able to handle it. A black belt is not just about being an expert in techniques, its much more than that"

All of them share the qualities that inevitably make a person, a champion - hard work, perseverance and a belief that they can be the best. And from what they have achieved, it certainly isn't an unfounded one.

 




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