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From Karnam Malleswari to Nikhat Zareen — Indian women who have been world champions in Olympic sports

From boxing to badminton and weightlifting, we take a look at all the female world champions that India has produced over the past several decades

From Karnam Malleswari to Nikhat Zareen — Indian women who have been world champions in Olympic sports

Nikhat Zareen will defend her title in front of the home crowd in March 2023. 


C.C. Chengappa

Updated: 22 May 2022 11:33 AM GMT

Nikhat Zareen has become another addition to the growing list of female world champions that India has produced. Other than boxing, India has multiple world champions in weightlifting, badminton and shooting as well. We take a look at all the world champions in Olympic sports that India has produced.


P V Sindhu has two Olympic medals and multiple BWF titles to her name. But one of her many defining moments came in 2019 when she beat Japan's Nozomi Okuhara in straight games by 21-7, 21-7 at the BWF World Championships. Her run to the final was brilliant as well as she beat former World No. 1, Tai Tzu Ying, in the quarter-final and All England Badminton Championship winner Chen Yu Fei in the semi-finals.


Mary Kom

2002,2005,2006,2008,2010,2018 are the years in which MC Mary Kom took home World Boxing Championship medals. She competed in a host of different weight categories between 45kg-48kg and was consistent through the years of her worldwide reign.

Jenny RL

Jenny RL happens to be the third Indian female boxer to win a gold medal at the Women's World Boxing Championships. She won gold at the Women's World Amateur Boxing Championships in 2006 competing in the 63kg event.

Lekha KC

India's other gold medal winner at the 2006 Women's World Amateur Boxing Championships was Kerala's Lekha NC. She took part in the 75 kg category and won Gold. Lekha had also won the National Championship 6 times in a row earlier and was an Asian Championship Gold Medal winner.

Nikhat Zareen

India's latest gold medal world champion is Nikhat Zareer. Apart from her gold medal at the 2022 IBA Women's World Boxing Championships, she is also a junior world champion having won gold at the 2011 AIBA Junior World Boxing Championships.


Tejaswini Sawant

Indian rifle shooter Tejaswini Sawant won gold at the 2010 World Shooting Championships in the 50m Rifle Prone event. She has competed regularly in all rifle events including 10m and 50m rifle prone pairs and is India's only senior female shooting world champion to date.


Karnam Malleshwari

Apart from being India's first female Olympic medal winner, Karnam Malleshwari won gold at the 1994 and 1995 World Weightlifting Championships. Competing in the 54kg category, Malleswari has won over 30 international medals in weightlifting including a bronze at the 1993 World Championship.

Karnam Malleswari and Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai Chanu is India's second weightlifting Olympic medal winner and won silver at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Chanu has previously won gold in the Women's 48 kg category by lifting a competition record 194 kg at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships.

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