Every week, HuffPost India will bring you a carefully curated list of things to cheer, from India and around the world. Our first instalment includes the first woman to make the arduous trek to Kerala’s Agasthyarkoodam peak, a US college gymnast who delivers a flawless floor routine to the beat of the King of Pop and a 10 year old who became the youngest gold medallist at the Khelo India Youth Games.
As trekking season began at Agasthyarkoodam, I&B ministry official Dhanya Sanal on 14 January became the first woman to trek to the peak after the Kerala High Court lifted the ban on women.
“The journey is to understand the forest more and share the unique experience with others,” Sanal told PTI before beginning her journey.
The high court had in November 2018 allowed women to trek to the 1,868-metre high peak inside Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Missy Elliott made history when she was named as the first female hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
“One of the most significant female artists in contemporary music history, Missy Elliott is a groundbreaking solo superstar, pioneering songwriter-producer, and across-the-board cultural icon. The five-time GRAMMY® Award winner – with nominations spanning three decades – has attained unprecedented success, including U.S. sales in excess of 30 million. Missy’s six studio albums have each been RIAA platinum certified or better, marking her as the only female rapper to achieve that remarkable accomplishment.” — Songwriters Hall Of Fame
UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi delivered a heart-stopping floor routine Saturday at the Collegiate Challenge in Anaheim, California.
The audience erupted in cheers at the end of Ohashi’s minute-and-a-half routine, which earned her a perfect 10 from the judges. Her flawless performance, which went viral online, helped UCLA’s women’s gymnastics team sail to victory at the competition.
Ohashi who trained as an elite gymnast and dreamed of competing in the Olympics, dropped out of the sport after a series of injuries and surgeries. She also struggled with criticisms of her weight and body shaming.
She enrolled in UCLA as a gender studies student and later joined the college gymnastics team, helping them win the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championship in 2018.
35-year-old Jasmin Paris broke the record for the Montane Spine Race by over 12 hours while stopping in between to express milk.
Paris completed the 268-mile race from Derbyshire to the Scottish borders in 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds.
“It was the hardest race I’ve done due to the amount of time and weather wise, but I’m really happy because I gave it my best shot. I raced hard and gave it the best I could,” she told BBC. “It’s been a life affirming experience and it will take me a couple of weeks to recover from the effort and cost it took.”
Paris took part in the race while taking a week off from writing her PhD thesis.
Vinesh Phogat Is First Indian Nominated For Laureus award
Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat has become the first Indian to receive a nomination in the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards to be held on 18 February.
The 24-year-old Indian, who made a sensational comeback after battling a long injury lay-off to win a gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Jakarta Asian Games, has been nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year.
The last time an Indian sporting feat made its way to the Laureus World Sports Awards was in 2004 when the Indian cricket team and Pakistan cricket team shared the Laureus Sport for Good Award for playing an International match despite political tensions between the two countries.
Most recently, Magic Bus from India won the Laureus Sport for Good award in 2014. However, Vinesh makes history as the first Indian athlete to be nominated in one of the seven main categories at the Laureus World Sports Awards.
10-year-old Abhinav Shaw becomes youngest champ at Khelo India Youth Games
Abhinav Shaw became the youngest gold medallist at the Khelo India Youth Games when he teamed up with Mehuli Ghosh to help West Bengal win the 10m air-rifle mixed team event in Pune Sunday.
The sixth-standard student had to bide his time to get on the range and display his talent, not being among the 16 shooters chosen to compete in the individual events in either Junior (under-21) and Youth (under-17) categories.
In the final, where each series has a time limit, Mehuli decided to let her young teammate take the first crack.
“I take a little longer than him to line up my shot. He shoots pretty quickly and when we have a minute to complete our series, it helps to have him go first since he shoots quickly,” said Mehuli.
A Saudi teen whose flight from her allegedly abusive family captured global attention said she wants to work in support of freedom for women around the world for years to come.
“Today and for years to come, I will work in support of freedom for women around the world,” Rahaf al-Qunun said. “The same freedom I experienced on the first day I arrived in Canada.”
Her situation has highlighted the issue of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, where several women fleeing abuse by their families have been denied asylum abroad and returned home in recent years.
There has been speculation that al-Qunun’s successful getaway will inspire others to copy her. Days after she was granted asylum, another Saudi woman has turned to social media for protection from her father and made pleas for help on Twitter in Arabic.
(With inputs from AP and PTI)