Theory:

Section - I
     Each day is a new beginning. It has so much to unfold and I had the best day at school today.

     Cricket is something that I love. Today my teacher told us that we would be learning about a cricketer. I thought of Sachin, Virat Kohli and many other male players in the Indian cricket team but she introduced Mithali Dorai Raj, an Indian cricketer and the captain of the Indian women’s cricket team in Tests and One Day Internationals [ODIs]. I never thought a woman could play cricket so well. It was why I have never let my little sister play cricket with me. I would tell her, “It is not for you; you had better play with girls.” However, I was taken by surprise, when I learnt that Mithali started to play the game at the age of 10, and that she was selected for the Indian team at the age of 17.

     Mithali lives in Hyderabad. I was interested to learn that her mother tongue is Tamil. I felt very proud that she has been widely recognised and acknowledged. She was the highest run scorer in Women’s International Cricket and the only woman cricketer to surpass the 6,000-run mark in ODIs. Mithali is the first player to score seven consecutive 50s. In fact, she is nicknamed “Tendulkar of Indian women’s cricket” as she is presently the all-time leading run scorer for India in all formats, including Tests, ODIs and T20s. I would love to quote what Mithali had to say about this compliment,

     She said, “ On the one hand, being compared to Sachin is an absolute privilege. I do not think I have achieved even half of what he did for the country. On the other, being a woman cricketer, I want people to know me for my own identity. I would rather not be compared to a male cricketer.”

     She indeed is an inspiration to all of us. She actually started playing cricket with her brother. When she was young, she used to go with her father to the grounds where he practised. She used to stand outside the ground, and returned the ball when it came her way. Though it was a humble start, she managed to secure a name and a place for herself. Many of us think cricket is for men; however, she broke the traditional barriers and proved that women are on par with men in every field. The government of India in recognition of her contribution to cricket conferred on her the Padma Shri Award.

     And I forgot to mention about the recent achievement of our Indian women cricket team. Mithali Raj and another woman player Smriti Mandhana hit stylish half centuries and India cruised to a comfortable nine-wicket victory over South Africa in the second women’s T20 International on 23 of February 2018. Mithali anchored the innings to perfection with an unbeaten 76.

     Now that I am inspired by her and my attitude has changed, I certainly will be happy when my little sister follows her passion…
Section - II
     Usha Rani, cop-cum- Kabbadi champion rose from shanty town of Subedarpalaya in Yeshwanthpur near Bengaluru, in Karnataka. Armed with her mother’s unfulfilled dream to become an athlete, she became determined and practised kabaddi at the Kanteerava Stadium every morning rain or shine. As a school child, she grew up watching Kabaddi at a club in front of her house and soon joined the club and started playing kabbadi at National level in sub-junior category.
 
     Whenever she was not playing, she was the source of support to her parents and others at home. She used to sell flowers for her daily living and she had to struggle all through her life, until she got a job in the Karnataka State Police Force. She was selected as a police person for her excellence in sports and was the youngest in the Karnataka State Police women Kabbadi team.
 
     She was just 29 years old when she won a Gold Medal in kabaddi. She is much acclaimed for her raiding skills in kabaddi. E. S. Sumanth, sports officer at Karnataka State Police Sports Promotion Board says,

     “Despite a well-paid job, Usha participated in national events every year without a miss. She is an expert in giving leads, raiding opponents and consistently playing a prominent role in the Indian kabaddi team.”
 
     Usha Rani is now working hard and practising every day to win the Gold medal at the Asian Games in 2018. She has also become a role model to her brothers and sisters at home and other fellow sports persons.
Section - III
     The word BADMINTON will instantly bring P.V. Sindhu in everyone’s mind. Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is one of the two Indian badminton players to ever win a silver medal in 2017 Olympics – the other being Saina Nehwal who has won a bronze medal in 2012 Olympics. Sindhu came to international attention when she broke into the top 20 of the BFW (Badminton World Federation) in September 2012 at the age of 17. She is one of the top five shuttlers in the women’s singles category.
 
     She started playing badminton at the age of eight. Though her parents were professional volleyball players, Sindhu chose badminton over volleyball because she drew inspiration from the success of Pullela Gopichand, the 2001 All England Open Badminton Champion.
 
     Sindhu first learned the basics of the sport with the guidance of Mehboob Ali. She then joined Pullela Gopichand’s 'Gopichand Badminton Academy.' While profiling Sindhu’s career, a correspondent with The Hindu wrote:
 
     “The fact that she reports on time at the coaching camps daily, travelling a distance of 56 km from her residence, is perhaps a reflection of her willingness to fulfil her desire to be a good badminton player with the required hard work and commitment.”
 
     Gopichand seconded this opinion,

     “The most striking feature in Sindhu’s game is her attitude and the never-say-die spirit.”
 
     Despite P.V Sindhu being busy with her training schedules and International tournaments, she managed to attend regular school until class 9, after which all her classes were through correspondence. She did balance both her passion as well as her academics and she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce (B.com).
 
     After joining Gopichand’s badminton academy, Sindhu won several titles. She has won many awards as well as cash grants for her contribution and among them, these three awards were conferred on her by the Indian government:
 
• Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the highest sporting honour of India (2016).
• Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India (2015).
• Arjuna Award (2013).
Reference:
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-2 English Standard-6. Sports Stars (pp. 81-97). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.