Did you know that nearly half of the athletes on the RIO 2016 entry list were female? Join us as we celebrate these 28 inspiring women Olympians (an inexhaustive list of amazing women athletes) rocking it at Rio from diverse backgrounds and sporting prowess. We begin with our home-grown ladies then move onto Asian talents and beyond! You’re sure to be proud of these women. Do we hear a resounding “Girl Power!” cheer? Cover image credit: NBC Olympics
Credit: The Star
Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong (Malaysia)
We can’t be any prouder of these home-grown diving darlings. With their stunning performance at the women’s synchronized 10m platform diving event, this duo recently bagged a silver medal, Malaysia’s first win at RIO 2016! World-class talent indeed. Thank you for doing our nation proud and making the screens an exciting spectacle for all of us back home!
Update: We're still beaming with pride with the best-ever Olympics performance by our Malaysian Heroes, #teammalaysia! Mighty proud of all of you and a huge congratulations once again!
Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli (Malaysia)
Track & Field
Her contenders in the 100m sprint are among the world’s best. This hasn’t deterred Zaidatul’s determination to beat her own 100m record of 11.62 seconds and liven up the tracks! She advanced into the next round of the women’s 100m at RIO 2016 after finishing third in the heats. Run, Zaidatul, run!
Credit: NST/Heidi Gan
Phee Jinq En and Heidi Gan (Malaysia)
Jinq En proved her worth when she clinched gold at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore last year. She made her debut at the Olympics in the women’s 100m breaststroke event this year and we are proud of her all the same.
Meanwhile, Heidi’s remarkable qualifying time of 1’ 57:41.2 at Portugal last June paved the way for her to compete in RIO 2016 for her second Olympics! All the best for your 10km marathon swimming event!
Credit: The Star
Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif (Malaysia)
Sailing: Women’s Laser Radial
This 18-year-old is a history-maker – she’s Malaysia’s first female sailor to qualify for the Olympics! She made waves with her impressive silver medal win at the Asian Sailing Championships in March this year. She gained an amazing nine rungs up, keeping her word to going all out to improve her sport at her first ever Olympics! You go, girl!
Credit: NBC Olympics
Sopita Tanasan (Thailand)
21-year-old Sopita won her nation’s first historic Olympic gold at the Women’s 48kg weightlifting. She lifted an amazing total of 200kg! Women of steel. Enough said.
Sri Wahyuni Agustiani (Indonesia)
Sri Wahyuni bagged the first RIO 2016 medal for her country when she emerged in 2nd place in the Women’s 48kg weightlifting competition. She recorded a total lift of 192kg, four kilos ahead of second runner-up, Hiromi Miyake from Japan.
Sania Mirza (India)
Sania is one of India’s strongest bet to win a gold medal. Currently ranked #1 in the world and having walked away as champion at the 2016 Australian Open earlier this year, she is clearly a force to be reckoned with. Expect nothing less – she will definitely put a strongly competitive show on the court.
Credit: NY Times
Dipa Karmakar (India)
The first ever female gymnast from her country ever to qualify for the Olympics. Hailing from the small state of Tripuna, this 22-year-old overcame great odds on her road to RIO. The gym where she started with lacked proper equipment and would even flood during the monsoon season. Her landmark bronze medal win at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow catapulted her to stardom. She will be facing serious contenders on the vault but this trailblazer is all set to show her finesse in what will be an exciting and keenly contested competition. Go for it, girl!
Update: Dipa missed the bronze medal by a whisker, finishing fourth in the women's vault finals but created history as India's best-ever gymnast and received a rousing homecoming welcome. She's eyeing a podium finish at Tokyo 2020 - we're rooting for you, Dipa!
Pusarla Venkata (PV) Sindhu (India)
This lanky, 21 year old won billions of hearts as her nation watched her deliver 84 minutes of adrenaline-pumping game against world #1 Carolina Marin and eventually clinching the silver medal in the women's badminton singles. Throughout the game, she made countless power leaps forward as she gave the game her all and taken badminton for her country a notch higherr. Victory aside, it was her humble gesture shown to her winning opponent after the match that proved why she is so deserving of all the praise and attention poured on her. At the end of the exciting match, Pusarla walked over to shake hands with the umpire, waved to the cheering crowd and crossed over the court to lift Marin off her feet and embraced each other.
What happened next was something not typically seen at the Games - as she walked away from Marin to let the Spaniard soak in the limelight of her hard-fought victory, Pusarla saw that the gold medal champion had left her racquet lying on the ground (Marin had flung it in sheer excitment!). She impulsively picked it up and slowly laid it by the side of the court, near Marin's bag. We have so much respect for you, Pusarla! Such humility and grace from India's first woman to win an Olympics silver medal!
Duan Jingli (China)
Duan Jingli gave China another reason to celebrate when she won bronze at the women’s single sculls final of Rowing with an almost 2 seconds behind silver medalist American sculler Genevra Stone and 3 seconds behind Australian champion, Kim Brennan. Fierce thrills and spills right there.
Credit: Rio 2016
Ki Bo-bae (Korea)
South Korean sharp shooter, Ki Bo-bae won a team gold in archery with her partner, Choi Mi-sun, setting her country on the top of podium once again. In the individual event, this 28-year-old walked away with a bronze medal, her second win at RIO 2016.
Zahra Nemati (Iran)
As a youth, Zahra initially planned to compete in taekwando at the Olympics but at age 18, she got into a car accident and lost the use of both her legs and severed her spinal cord. This didn't relegate to hanging up her dreams. She went on to won Iran's first ever gold medal in the London Olympics in 2012. Fast forward to 2016, she's her nation's flagbearer at RIO 2016, moving around and competing while on a wheelchair. It was undoubtedly a nervous and emotional performance for Zahra at RIO 2016 as she received a warm applause from the crowd. She left the arena with a tearful and inspiring message for disabled athletes - "Don't let your disability defeat you. Sports is the best means to defeat disability." You're a testament of that, Zahra and we are mighty proud of you!
Almaz Ayana (Ethopia)
Track & Field
Almaz is one bionic women who can fly, we’re not joking. At RIO 2016, she set a new world record of 29:17.45 in the women’s 10 000m final. Let’s break this down, shall we? This means that she runs an approximately swooshing 2.9 minutes per kilometre and that continues for ten kilometres! Mind-blowing, I tell you. Is she superhuman or what?
Credit: Rio 2016
Carolina Marin (Spain)
Spain's petite but mighty Carolina Marin became the first non-Asian woman to win the Olympic gold in the badminton singles finals beating India's P V Sindhu. The 23 year old world #1 won the intense 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 match with frequent screams and swift, aggressive strokes.
Credit: Rio 2016
Virginia (Ginny) Thrasher (USA)
Ginny shot her way to win USA's first gold medal in RIO 2016 in the women's 10m air rifle finals. This 19 year old lass thrashed her veteran opponent, two-time Olympic gold medallist, Du Li from China by a full point ahead, with a final score of 208. Get this, Ginny only started shooting when she joined her father and brother on a hunting trip just five years ago. The West Virgina native then burst into the competitive shooting scene when she bagged 5 medals at the 2015 USA Shooting National Championships. You're definitely a shooting star, Ginny!
Credit: Buro 24/7
Ibtihaj Muhammad (USA)
Get this: Ibtihaj is the first American athlete ever to compete in a hijab at the Olympics. TIME magazine even named her as among the 100 most influential people of 2016. Ranked 8th in the world, she just won a bronze medal in sabre fencing. Keep slaying, woman!
Credit: Washington Post
Katie Ledecky (USA)
At the mere age of 19, Katie has won her fourth gold at this Summer Olympics in the 800m freestyle with a finishing time of 8:04.79, crushing her British competitor half a pool length ahead. Her winning streak also extends to breaking her own world record, shaving slightly over two seconds of her best time yet.
Credit: LA Times
Kristin Armstrong (USA)
At 43, this Mum juggles a job at a hospital and a son. She proved her naysayers wrong when she won her third consecutive gold medal at the women’s individual Olympic time trials, the first ever successive gold medalist for a female athlete. Plus, having recovered from multiple hip surgeries just three years ago, that is. Women power to the core!
Simone Manuel (USA)
Simone never dreamt that she would be the first black woman to clinch an Olympic gold medal as a solo swimmer, this 20-year-old just did that. In her interview with NBC, this teary-eyed young woman credits her historic win to those who had served as an inspiration to her and to those after her who believe they can’t do it. Oh my heart.
Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, Gabby Douglas, Madison Kocian (USA)
If you haven’t heard of the #finalfive, where have you been? This groundbreaking winning five entry at the Olympics is as diverse as you can get – black, white, Latina and Jewish. They are on a gold sweep (#squadgoals, y’all!); an epitome of accomplishing dreams and have not disappointed the thousands of young inspiring girls watching them on TV.
Credit: The Star
Penny Oleksiak (Canada)
At the tender age of 16, this Canadian girl has shown the world that she’s mighty in waters. She has won the most medals in her national history during a single Olympic. She’s killing it.
Credit: Vavel/Getty Images
Mónica Puig (Puerto Rico)
This young lady bagged a coveted gold medal for her country, the first ever Olympic gold medal for Puerto Rico. In an intense match against Germany rival, the 22-year-old champion had some striking resemblance to the legendary Martina Higgis and is definitely a budding tennis player to look out for in the coming days ahead!
Way to go, ladies! Be your best self - we’re cheering you on!