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From Sania to Saina: Rise of Indian women in sports

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By Ila Garg

Since ancient times, sports has been an integral part of Indian history. We have some legendary sportsmen like Milkha Singh, Kapil Dev, Dhyanchand, etc. ruling the charts. Today, women are also becoming the face of Indian sports. Women sportspersons these days are taking Indian sports to a new height. Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal have gradually emerged as popular youth icons and are creating ripples in the stagnant ocean! NewsGram takes a look at their journey:

Sania MirzaSania Mirza took India tennis to the global level. In the days when the patriarchal society of India was reveling in the notion that women cannot excel in sports, a determined Mirza changed the course of Tennis. Born on 15th November 1986, she started playing tennis at an early age of six. She found her first coach in her father Imran who diligently took her talent forward and carved it well so that she could be an inspiration for others like her.

She started taking part in international tournaments from the year 1999 and soon became a pro at the game. Her strength became evident from her very first game. In 2003, she managed to enter the list of world’s top 100 tennis players. She is the youngest Indian player to win the Grand Slam title too, thus creating a stir amongst the masses.

The ace player Sania is currently ranked world number one in the women’s doubles (she retired from singles recently). Now, she is all set to receive Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the highest Indian honour in the field of sports. It is indeed a big achievement for the star tennis player as she is the second tennis player after Leander Paes to be recommended for this award. NewsGram congratulates her for being an inspiration to many people around the world and opening new doors for the tennis aspirants.

Saina Nehwal has proved her mettle as a promising Indian female Badminton player and continues to reach heights. Like Sania Mirza aroused the interest of the youths to pursue the game of tennis, she is opening a whole new arena for them to follow.Saina Nehwal

She was born on 17th March 1990 with the game instilled in her genes as both her parents, Dr. Harvir Singh and Usha Rani were former State Badminton Champions. Her training started at the age of eight and since then the badminton racket has been her companion. In the year 2003, she made her presence felt when she won the Junior Czech Open Tournament.

Subsequently in 2004, she became the National Junior Champion and in 2005, she won the title again. This shows her dedication towards the game. In 2006, she won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth games thus creating a benchmark for herself. From small steps, she soon took leaps as she won the Superseries Title in 2009.

She has been decorated with awards like Arjuna Award (2009), Padma Shri Award (2010) and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (2010). Her zeal has motivated many others to follow her path.

Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal

From Sania Mania to Saina Style, Indian women have been rising in the field of sports and overcoming all hurdles. NewsGram feels that more and more women should come forward and take sports as career. Only required tools are diligence, hard work, and passion.

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Trump Can’t Deny Birth Control Coverage: U.S. Court

The case became more complicated after the Trump administration last month issued new birth control coverage rules that are set to supersede those at issue in the lawsuit before the 9th Circuit.

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birth control, contraceptive
A one-month dosage of hormonal birth control pills is displayed in Sacramento, Calif. VOA

A divided U.S. appeals court Thursday blocked rules by the Trump administration that allowed more employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control.

The ruling, however, may be short lived because the administration has adopted new rules on contraceptive coverage that are set to take effect next month and will likely prompt renewed legal challenges.

Thursday’s ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concerned changes to birth control coverage requirements under President Barack Obama’s health care law that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued in October 2017.

States were likely to succeed on their claim that those changes were made without required notice and public comment, the appeals court panel said in a 2-1 decision.

USA, birth control
A man stands outside the main door of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals building in San Francisco. VOA

The majority upheld a preliminary injunction against the rules issued by U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam last year. It, however, limited the scope of the injunction, applying it only to the five states in the lawsuit and not the entire country.

Another federal judge also blocked the rules, and her nationwide injunction remains in place.

An email to the Justice Department seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Obama’s health care law required most companies to cover birth control at no additional cost, though it included exemptions for religious organizations. The new policy allowed more categories of employers, including publicly traded companies, to opt out of providing free contraception to women by claiming religious objections. It also allowed any company that is not publicly traded to deny coverage on moral grounds.

The Department of Justice said in court documents that the rules were about protecting a small group of “sincere religious and moral objectors” from having to violate their beliefs. The changes were favored by social conservatives who are staunch supporters of President Donald Trump.

Reproductive Rights, abortion, women, birth control
A community health worker holds up contraceptives during a lecture on family planning at a reproductive health clinic run by an NGO in Tondo city, metro Manila. VOA

California filed a lawsuit to block the changes that was joined by Delaware, Maryland, New York and Virginia.

“Today’s decision is an important step to protect a woman’s right to access cost-free birth control and make independent decisions about her own reproductive health care,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

‘Economic harm’

The states argued that the changes could result in millions of women losing free birth control services, forcing them to seek contraceptive care through state-run programs or programs that the states had to reimburse.

The states show with “reasonable probability” that the new rules will lead women to lose employer-sponsored contraceptive coverage, “which will then result in economic harm to the states,” 9th Circuit Judge J. Clifford Wallace, a nominee of Republican President Richard Nixon, wrote for the majority.

Reproductive Rights, abortion, women, birth control
Newer Contraception Tries to Engage Men. VOA

In a dissent, 9th Circuit Judge Andrew Kleinfeld said the economic harm to the states was “self-inflicted” because they chose to provide contraceptive coverage to women. The states, therefore, did not have the authority to bring the lawsuit, said Kleinfeld, a nominee of Republican President George H.W. Bush.

Also Read: To Diversify The Industry, Apple Pledges To Train More Women

The case became more complicated after the Trump administration last month issued new birth control coverage rules that are set to supersede those at issue in the lawsuit before the 9th Circuit. Under the new rules, large companies whose stock is sold to investors won’t be able to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage.

Wallace said the new rules did not make the case before the 9th Circuit moot because they are not set to take effect until January. (VOA)