Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Australian Open Diary - Sania makes a splash

Many of my friends who knew I was in Melbourne and was watching a few matches at the venue all wanted to know one thing: had I seen Sania Mirza playing? Had I met her? I regret to say the answer to both those questions is a no. A combination of factors conspired, including my work hours (I have a job where I’m supposed to work, once in a while). I only came to know about Sania’s match against Serena the previous evening and desperately wanted to support her, even as I was aware of the impending fate. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not among those who don’t believe in upsets, but hey, we were talking a miracle here. In the end, Sania (I’m already on first name terms with her!) put up a worthy challenge and caught the attention of more than a few people, not least in India. Her famous opponent was also impressed, not withstanding some naïve comments from Sania about all the pressure being on the former number one. But at least it showed the girl has some spunk to go with talent, and that is a good sign. Quite frequently, there is talk about lack of support and encouragement for female athletes or aspirants in India, especially at the grassroots level. Mirza is no doubt fortunate to have a family that supports her as well as they do; but it also shows that if there is enough perseverance to pursue their dreams, there is no reason why they cannot come up. After all, we have had women carry our flag so many times in track and field sports at the highest levels. And after all, barriers are meant to be broken down. Go Sania! - NK


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