Tennis player Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis’s win at the Wimbledon’s women’s double championship was certainly cause for celebration. Nevertheless, another champion female athlete, badminton star Saina Nehwal, feels that there is lack of enthusiasm for sports education for girls in India. Nehwal has led an impressive career as the first and only Olympic medal winner in badminton for India, and currently the world’s No. 2 player. “Changes are happening and girls continue to outperform and excel in life, but there is still a long way to go when it comes to sports. Women are traditionally not encouraged to indulge in sports,” Nehwal said. That’s why she’s joined forces with Microsoft’s #MakeItHappen campaign, motivating Indian youth to follow their dreams through a video, and showing sports being brought into an all-girls school. “The video carries a message for the Indian youth to follow their dreams. I wanted to communicate to parents and stakeholders to let girls experiment and give them freedom of choice so that they can opt for the best possible career for them,” she said of the initiative. Her own professional entry in the sport started by chance, after being spotted playing in school by a professional coach. She says she hopes her story “among other stories of success, can help bring about a nationwide change in the mindset of people who still go by old perceptions.”
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The athletes Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal were misidentified in an earlier version of this article.