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Sports and Culture

The Bridge Wrapped 2021: Best Women's Sports Performances of the Year

Women were the highlight of 2021 with their inspiring performances across the Olympics and Paralympics - we take a look at the very best of them.

Shuttler P V Sindhu, gymnast Simone Biles and para shooter Avani Lekhara
Shuttler P V Sindhu, gymnast Simone Biles and para shooter Avani Lekhara

Soumya Bontra

Updated: 20 Dec 2021 10:26 AM GMT

Simone Biles Be it 2019 or 2020, women in sports have been impressing the world with their incredible performances more and more every year. 2021 was no different, there were many incredible women athletes who kept us on our feet throughout the year with some extraordinary performances. There are plenty of women athletes who stole the show this year and the list is buzzing and long, we have gone ahead and assembled a list of the very 'best' for you to take a look at below.

Mirabai Chanu

The Indian ace weightlifter gave the country a perfect start at the Tokyo Olympics when she won the silver medal at one of the world's biggest sporting events. Chanu lifted a total of 202 kgs (87kgs in snatch + 115 kgs in clean and jerk) to bag the medal. Chanu's win came two decades after trailblazer Karnam Malleshwari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal.

Avani Lekhara

Indian para shooter Avani Lekhara

At just the age of 19, Avani Lekhara became the first Indian woman to win two Paralympic medals in Tokyo on her debut. Before claiming a bronze medal in 50m Rifle 3 Position SH1, the young shooter had also become the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold by winning top honours in 10m Air Rifle standing SH1 event.

Bhavina Patel

Table tennis star Bhavina Patel had a memorable debut at the Tokyo Paralympics. The Indian paddler defeated World No 2 Borislava Peric-Rankovic in straight games to clinch the silver medal. With this win, Bhavina became the first Indian paddler to win a medal at the Games.

Lovlina Borgohain

Inidna boxer Lovlina Borgohain

Yet another Tokyo debutant, Indian boxer Lovlina Borgohain won a bronze medal in the women's 69kg welter-weight category. Defeating a former world champion in the quarterfinals, Lovlina became only the third Indian boxer to win a medal in the Olympics.

Sunisa Lee

American gymnast Sunisa Lee

American artistic gymnast Sunisa Lee is the Tokyo Olympic all-around champion and also won the bronze medal in the uneven bars event. Lee became the fifth American woman to claim the Olympic title.

PV Sindhu

Indian shuttler P V Sindhu

Indian ace shuttler PV Sindhu was yet again a star for her country as she won her second Olympic medal. Sindhu defeated China's He Bing Jiao in straight games to win the bronze medal in Tokyo. She also had an incredible run at the BWF World Championships.

Indian women's hockey team

The Rani Rampal-led team created history by becoming the first Indian women's hockey team to reach an Olympic semifinal. Even if they lost the bronze medal match by just 1 point, the team made their country proud by putting their best performance on display.

Simone Biles

American gymnast Simone Biles

Termed as the GOAT (was also honoured with a Twitter emoji for the same), American gymnast Simone Biles was hailed for putting her mental health first when she withdrew from four events final at Tokyo Olympics. Biles, a four-time Olympic winner, who also has four skills named after her, was named Time magazine's 2021 Athlete of the Year.

Aditi Ashok

Indian golfer Aditi Ashok has become a household name after her stunning performance in the Tokyo Olympics where she missed out nearly on a medal. More than half the population of India who never watched golf woke up at 4 am to watch Aditi play.

Canada women's soccer team

Canada women's soccer team

The Canada women's soccer team won their first gold medal in Tokyo Olympics. Led by veteran Christine Sinclair, this was the team's best-ever Olympic results. Grosso, a 20-year-old first-time Olympian, scored the winning goal for Canada on the sixth round of penalty kicks.

Indian women's football team

Indian women's football team

In one of the most significant events for Indian football, 57th ranked India, played against two-time Olympics silver medallist and former World Cup runners-up Brazil, in a four-nations tournament. In the same match, forward Manisha Kalyan scored a brilliant goal. Even though India lost all their matches, the team's performance in this tournament was appreciated worldwide.

Manika Batra

Indian paddler Manika Batra

Indian table tennis star Manika Batra despite not having her coach at the Tokyo Olympics put on some great performance for the fans. However, she made a strong comeback when she won a bronze medal at WTT Contender. Manika along with table tennis partner Archana Kamath won their maiden title in women's double in the same tournament.

Nethra Kumanan

Nethra Kumanan became the first Indian sailor to qualify for the Olympics. Nethra showcased some incredible skills in Tokyo waters, to finish 35th in the race. Later, Nethra won the gold medal at the laser radial event of the Gran Canaria Sailing Championships. She also finished 23rd at the World Championships.

Emma Raducanu

British tennis star Emma Raducanu

The 19-year-old tennis star is the reigning US Open Champion and the first British woman to win a Grand Slam singles title since Virginia Wade in the 1977 Wimbledon Championships. Playing her first grand slam, Raducanu is now the British No.1 and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Indian women's cricket team

Indian women's cricket team

Even if the Indian women's cricket team did not have any major tournaments scheduled this year, the team still made head turns for their incredible Tests performance. Even after playing a Test match after seven years, the team successfully ended their match against England in a draw. Similarly, playing their first-ever pink-ball day-night Test against Australia, the young team didn't let the Aussies win and ended this match in a draw too.

Bhavani Devi

C A Bhavani Devi is the first Indian fencer to qualify for the Olympics. Bhavani, then, won India's 1st ever fencing match in Olympics history, by beating Tunisia's Ben Azizi. Later she won the Charlellville National Competition in France in the individual women's sabre event.

Momiji Nishiya (Japan), Sky Brown (UK), Rayssa Leal (Brazil)

The women skateboarding events at the Tokyo Olympics were one of the most talked-about events in the tournament. All the young skaters at the women's event were a delight to watch the officials estimate this must have been the youngest podium finish at the Games. It is also fair to say that the skateboarding event was one of the calmest and happiest events in the Tokyo Olympics.

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