Mithali Raj

The city of pearls is home to some of the biggest names in sports. Three of the most successful women athletes in the country – Sania Mirza, PV Sindhu and Mithali Raj are from Hyderabad. The trio has often credited the city for their success. Two of them excelled in individual sports and the other went on to establish her name in the team sport. What is it that makes Hyderabad special? Let’s check out.

Why Hyderabad women excel in sports

Parental support: Hyderabad has produced a long list of legends in the past and the legacy inspired parents to send their wards to sports. Take for example PV Sindhu, whose father and mother are established athletes at the national level. Sindhu’s father let go of his promotions to stay in Hyderabad and get his child trained in the city.

Dynamic sports culture in schools: The school sports culture which promotes excellence is a major reason for Mithali’s success. An alumnus from Keyes High School for Girls, Secunderabad, Mithali often talked about how the institution supported her when she had a tough schedule in hand. Coaching centres too had a big role to play as they conducted regular tournaments and the city was abuzz with sporting activities.

Sports as a recreational activity: According to Sania Mirza, Hyderabad excelled in women’s sports because there was a lack of other recreational activities. “During our time, we did not have many options to enjoy in our city other than sports. In other cities like Mumbai, we see more option for enjoyment. In Hyderabad, leisure used to be sports and cinema. We got naturally inclined towards sports,” Sania points out.

They are the wonder women from Hyderabad, So, what are the future priorities of these stars? A lot will be expected from PV Sindhu in the 2021 Olympics. The Rio Olympics silver medal holder is the current world champion and despite an inconsistent run following the title, Sindhu can bounce back at any point of time and that sets her bar higher.

India’s tennis queen Sania Mirza, on a comeback trail, is hungry to win more medals. In an Instagram chat with Purav Raja he asked Sania about the trophy she missed the most in her cabinet.

“The only thing left for me is to achieve an Olympic medal,” said Sania, who recently made a comeback to tennis after a year-long sabbatical following the birth of her son Ishan. The 33-year-old star last week became the first Indian to be nominated for the prestigious Fed Cup Heart Award.

Mithali Raj (38) with two decades of experience admits that she is in her last leg of career. The Indian ODI captain, also the highest run-scorer, came close to World Cup glory twice, in 2005 and 2017 but failed in the final hurdle. Mithali will have her last shot in the 2021 World Cup next year.

Bright future

A city cannot sleep in past glory. The next generation is shaping up – Sreeja Akula (Table Tennis), Esha Singh (Shooting), Sarayu (Chess) and Maheswari (Athletics) are some of the names we can watch out for in the coming years.

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