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When Indian athletes openly spoke about menstruation

On World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021, we look at Indian sportspersons who tried to change the social stigma attached to menstruation.

When Indian athletes openly spoke about menstruation

Abhijit Nair

Updated: 29 May 2021 2:35 AM GMT

World Menstrual Hygiene Day is observed on May 28, every year. Menstruation is still considered to be a taboo and a lot of superstitions are associated with menstruating women especially in the rural parts of the country. While a lot of it is slowly changing, a major section of the Indian society still finds it awkward to talk about it in open.

Here, we look at Indian sportspersons who spoke openly about menstruation:

Aditi Chauhan

Born in the state of Goa, Aditi Chauhan is the goalkeeper of the Indian women's football team. She currently plays for the Hamar Hveragerði women's team in the third division of Iceland's Women's league. Apart from this, she has also plied her trade at West Ham United Ladies and Gokulam Kerala.

Aditi Chauhan spoke about her struggles with menstruation in an interview with Sportstar. On the occasion of World Menstrual Hygiene Day, the 28-year-old said that she played despite being on her periods during her childhood."When I started off, my parents always encouraged me to keep playing even if I was on my period. They had the awareness that it was part and parcel of life, and one would not have to stop regular activities if one is healthy," Aditi said.

She had further elaborated on how earlier players used to take breaks during the first couple of days of the periods from training and how it has changed now. She also stressed how the country needs to spread more awareness regarding menstruation and not consider it as a taboo.

Robin Uthappa and Rahul Tewatia

Cricketers Robin Uthappa and Rahul Tewatia openly spoke about menstruation during the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL), when their team, Rajasthan Royals, had collaborated with sanitary napkin brand Niine.

In one of a kind campaign named 'Every Run Counts', Niine had provided nine girls with menstrual hygiene for each run scored by the Royals, during IPL 2020 while the Royals jersey spotted the logo of the brand.

As a part of their campaign with the Niine, Robin Uthappa had hosted a rapid-fire with Rahul Tewatia, David Miller, and Jos Buttler.

In a video posted in Rajasthan Royals Twitter account, Tewatia can be heard saying as to how he did not know anything about periods until he had his first girlfriend when he was 19 or 20 years old, whilst also describing the stigmas and superstitions he has heard related to periods.

Dutee Chand

One of the best track athletes produced by India during recent times, Dutee Chand opened up about menstruation during an interaction with SheThePeople. In a video uploaded on their YouTube channel, the 25-year-old can be heard talking about the struggles of training during periods. "We are given rest for 1-2 days during periods and we train less due to the pain. Training hard during periods might affect your body negatively," Chand can be heard saying.

Anju Bobby George

The first Indian to win a World Championship medal in Athletics, Anju Bobby George is one of the greatest sportspersons India has ever produced. In an interview with Scroll.in back in the year 2015, Anju had opened up about how menstruation affected her during her playing days.

"I lost two big long jump competitions because of it, but could never tell anyone that. I was in top form in every other way, but the period made me feel weaker and there was nothing I could do about it. After the events, many people criticized my performance but this is not something I could ever tell them." she said.

Joshna Chinappa

Joshna Chinappa is undoubtedly one of the best squash players India has ever produced. With multiple medals in both Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, the 34-year-old has time and again brought laurels for the country.

In an interview with Scroll.in, Chinappa talked about her tussles with periods and how it is necessary to share a good bond with your coach to talk about it freely to them. "We work hard and are used to a lot of pain during training and competition, so I definitely think we can handle having to deal with having a period…I think it's the equation you share with your coaches," she said.

Mary Kom

One of the greatest athletes to have emerged out of India, Mary Kom has won a total of seven World Championship medals besides having an Olympic medal, two Asian Games medals, one Commonwealth Games medal, and six Asian Championship medals in her kitty. Back in the year 2014, Kom came down heavily on the stigmas associated with menstruation in India and called for more awareness to break this taboo.

"In India, menstruation is culturally considered dirty so we need to break this taboo and teach our daughters it is fine to have periods. Menstruation is the first step towards healthy motherhood," Kom had said.

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