Tuesday February 19, 2019
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A long way to go for women in sports: Saina Nehwal

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Picture from www.speakingtree.in

New Delhi: Sania Mirza’s latest Grand Slam triumph at Wimbledon is a testament to what Indian women are capable of achieving, but there is a long way to go before change sets in for most women who wish to take up sports as a profession in this country, feels badminton ace Saina Nehwal.

In the past few years, the likes of Sania, Dipika Pallikal (squash), Saina, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa (all badminton) have done India proud with their unprecedented feats.

Picture from www.speakingtree.in
Picture from www.speakingtree.in

However, World No.2 Saina admits that despite the global success of Indian women in sports, there is a lack of enthusiasm for sports education for girls in the country.

“Changes are happening and girls continue to outperform and excel in life, but there is still a long way to go when it comes to sports. Women are traditionally not encouraged to indulge in sports,” Saina told IANS in an email interaction on her association with Microsoft’s #MakeItHappen campaign.

As part of the campaign, she has motivated Indian youth to follow their dreams – via a video titled “Umeedein” – and shows sports being brought into an all-girls school.

“Apart from being a relevant topic, it is close to my heart and one that has the potential of giving this country many more proud moments,” said Saina, who brought home the first and only Olympic medal for India in badminton.

“The video carries a message for the Indian youth to follow their dreams. I wanted to communicate to parents and stakeholders to let girls experiment and give them freedom of choice so that they can opt for the best possible career for them,” she said of the initiative.

The Hyderabadi also stressed while “female education is something everyone can get enthused about, but when it comes to girls taking up sports as a profession, that enthusiasm vanishes”.

Photo from naidunia.jagran.com AFP PHOTO/ MANAN VATSYAYANA
Photo from naidunia.jagran.com
AFP PHOTO/ MANAN VATSYAYANA

“One of the reasons is the assumption that sports cannot be a profession for girls and that it distracts them from doing well at studies. In my experience, I have met a lot of girls who are equally interested in sports but lack a proper direction to take their interest forward,” said the 25-year-old.

“They are still being pushed to do well at studies and try and build a career in professions ‘perceived’ as made for girls. People, especially, from tier-II and tier-III towns are often disadvantaged as they do not get as many opportunities as people from the metros. We need good sports people who can make our country proud.”

Saina’s said her professional entry into the sport was by chance.

“I was spotted by coach P.S.S. Nani Prasad Rao in Hyderabad. He agreed to take me under his wing as a trainee at the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) summer camp in 1999. I have been fortunate to have always got encouragement and support. I was spotted while playing at school. Hence, I am a big believer of encouraging girls to take up sports,” she said, adding that there’s no ideal age for sports education.

Saina also hopes her story, “among other stories of success, can help bring about a nationwide change in the mindset of people who still go by old perceptions”.

(IANS)

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Low Cure Rate For Childhood Cancer in India: Experts

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner

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Health insurance covers only for hospitalization and doesn’t necessarily cover the medical expenses incurred for the treatment of major illnesses. flickr

Childhood cancer comprises almost 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India, experts said here on Friday, expressing concern over the low cure rate due to lack of available data.

“The disturbing reality is that the cure rate of pediatric cancer is almost 80 per cent in the developed countries. When we see the data from major cancer centres, it actually can match up to the Western standard but this data is not enough,” Haemato-Oncologist Vivek Agarwala said at an awareness programme conducted by Narayana Superspecialty Hospital, Howrah.

According to the Indian Council for Medical Research, cancer in children constitutes approximately 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India.

Agarwala said a large portion of the incidence of childhood cancer in society is still not addressed.

Cancer survivor. Flickr

Also, a large section who don’t have access to premier institutes are often diagnosed late due to financial crunch and that is why the overall treatment rate in India is low.

“Probably, the government and society at large are not considering it a big problem as it is just around 5 per cent. We are always campaigning for breast and cervical cancers,” Agarwala said.

“We must remember this 5 per cent of cancer is majorly curable if given proper treatment,” he said.

Leukaemia and retinoblastoma (a form of cancer where children have a white eye) are the two common forms of cancer in children.

Also Read- Push-ups Can Lower The Risk of Heart Diseases

Talking about awareness and symptoms that parents need to watch out for, he said: “Symptoms are different for different cancers, but children who have cancer have poor growth, poor weight gain and decreased appetite. One must get their children evaluated on seeing these symptoms”.

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner. (IANS)