They came, they saw, they conquered – meet the 8 sportswomen who floored us with incredible performances this year.
2017 has been a great year for sportswomen all over the world. Sport may have, in the past, been considered a man’s domain, but in the year gone by, we’ve seen women shaking up the game and taking the courts, pitches and racetracks by storm. With a lot of firsts to their credit, they amassed victories and titles, zooming past seasoned male athletes on their paths to international success. In doing so, they’ve renewed and revived the hopes and dreams of aspiring sportswomen worldwide!
They will not stop until every box is ticked, and every goal, achieved. They are 2017’s top women in sports:
World No. 1 and winner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, Serena Williams is the Queen of Tennis. With an impressive number of accolades and several broken records to her credit, her strength and skillset have been a source of inspiration to peers and aspiring players. She kicked off the 2017 season by winning the Australian Open for a record seventh time. Following her pregnancy announcement in April, she missed the remainder of the season and on September 1, began a new chapter with the birth of her baby girl. Serena has set her sights on another big win at the next Australian Open to take place in January 2018.
Dutch footballer Lieke Martens plays midfield and forward for FC Barcelona in the Primera Division and for the Netherlands national team. In the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, she scored the first World Cup goal for the Netherlands; in the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro Campaign finals, she scored three goals, leading the Netherlands to a win against Denmark. Subsequently, she was awarded the Golden Ball for her performance in the tournament. In October, she was named the Best FIFA Women’s Player of the year 2017.
As a teenager, Spanish motorcycle racer Ana Carrasco made her debut at the Moto3 World Championship at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix. In September 2017, she became the first woman to win an individual world championship motorcycle race at the age of 20 years. Riding a Kawasaki Ninja 300, she overtook seasoned riders in lap 10 of the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship, finishing the 11-lap race in first place.
A talented English cricketer, Heather Knight began her career playing at the county level. She joined the England Squad in 2010 and was appointed the captain of the England Women’s Cricket Team in 2016. She is the first female cricketer to score a 50 and to take a five-wicket haul in an ODI innings. In July, she led the England Women’s Cricket team to victory in the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup Final with a 9-run win over India.
Currently World no. 3 in Women’s Singles BWF World Rankings, PV Sindhu was the first Indian women’s singles badminton player to win a medal at the Badminton World Championships in 2013. In 2016 she scored a silver medal at the Summer Olympics and became the youngest Indian to make a podium finish in an individual event at the Olympics. In April, she won the India Super Series title and won the Victor Korea Open Superseries in September. She was recently awarded the title of Sportswoman of the Year in the individual sport category at the inaugural edition of Indian Sports Honours.
Ever since World no. 2 Garbiñe Muguruza began playing tennis professionally in 2012, she has been smashing her way through, defeating the greats and making her mark. At 24 years, she has five titles, including two majors to her credit. Though her season was off to a rocky start, she made it to the 2017 Wimbledon finals, where she beat Venus Williams to emerge as Wimbledon Champion. Soon after, she was awarded WTA Player of the Year and in December, she was named ITF Women’s World Champion.
Ten-time European gold medallist Elise Christie is a British short-track speed skater. She first made waves when she won an overall bronze at the 2010 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships. After being disqualified in three events at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, she claimed her first overall European title in the 2015 European Championships. In the 2017 World Championships, she won world titles in the 1,000m and 1,500m events and the overall gold, becoming the first British and European woman to do so.
Australian soccer player Samantha ‘Sam’ Kerr plays for the Australian women’s national soccer team, Perth Glory FC and the Sky Blue FC in the American National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). At 24, she is the all-time leading scorer in NWSL. In 2017, she was a top scorer at the Tournament of Nations and went on to receive the Julie Dolan Medal. She was also named the 2017 Women’s Player of the Year by the Asian Football Confederation.