10 years of Chak De India: Has the face of sports for women in India really changed?

By: | Updated: August 10, 2017 7:59 PM

Chak De India, arguably one of the best sports movies made in India, completed its 10 years today. Based on the victory of Indian women’s hockey team in 2002 Commonwealth Games, the Shah Rukh Khan starrer made people cheer for the Indian women hockey team, giving hope that the sport might finally be famous in the country.

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Chak De India, arguably one of the best sports movies made in India, completed its 10 years today. Based on the victory of Indian women’s hockey team in 2002 Commonwealth Games, the Shah Rukh Khan starrer made people cheer for the Indian women hockey team, giving hope that the sport might finally be famous in the country. While talking to PTI, the writer of the film Jaideep Sahni said that a lot has changed in last one decade since the film was released. “I realised that their competition was not the team of some other country but the disinterest of their own people and country. It motivated us to do something and try and change it in a little way,” Sahni said.

But this statement leaves us with one big question: Have things really changed for women’s hockey? Well, let’s have a look at what the Indian women hockey team has achieved in the last 10 years:

The team finished at 14th spot in 2012-13 World League and slightly improved its performance in the 2014-15 edition of the tournament by finishing at the 10th spot. The team had won a Gold in the 2002 Commonwealth Games and followed it with a silver in the 2006 edition but since the release of the movie, it has finished on the 5th spot in 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games. Coming to the World Cup, the team finished at 9th spot in 2010.

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The performance of women’s hockey team has been slightly better when it comes to the Asian tournaments. The Indian women’s hockey team finished on number 4 spot in the 2010 Asian Games before securing a bronze in the 2014 edition. It won a silver in the 2013 Asian Champions Trophy and turned it into Gold two years later. However, the competition is less in these tournaments.

The only thing that the team can actually be proud of in last one decade is the fact that it qualified for the 2016 summer Olympics, becoming the first Indian women’s team to do so. Even though the Indian women team had participated in the 1980 Olympics but that was only through invitation.

The other side of the story is that India qualified for the Olympics by entering the final of the World Hockey League in which it was the highest ranked team (13th) while the second best team was of Poland which sat at 26th spot globally back then. The team had conceded just one goal in that tournament that too in the final against Poland.

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Result? The Indian team finished on the last spot in their group in 2016 Rio Olympics, losing four out of its five matches while one game ended in a draw. 19 goals were scored against the team in this tournament while it found the back of the net just 3 times.

Sahni said that India has found many female icons in boxer Mary Kom, badminton player PV Sindhu, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, wrestler Sakshi Malik and Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj. But, the number is very few to change the face of sports for women in India.

54 women represented India in 2016 Summer Olympics and you don’t have to be an expert to understand that it is a very small number given the population of the country. Yes, things have changed in last 10 years and for the good but the change has been very slow, an area that needs serious improvement.

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