The Indian women's chess team has scripted history, becoming the first-ever to win a medal at an Olympiad. For Grandmaster Harika Dronavalli, who played while being nine months pregnant, the victory at the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai was especially emotional.
The Indian A team, comprising Harika Dronavalli, Tania Sachdev, Koneru Humpy, R Vaishali and Bhakti Kulkarni, won the bronze medal in the women’s section after losing to the United States 1-3. Harika did not play the last two games.
Seeing India bag its historic medal was a moment Harika said she lived for in the last few months. And it involved some sacrifices.
“My every single step has been dedicated to make it possible," she wrote in in a Twitter post on August 10. "No baby showers, no parties, no celebrations, I decided everything will be only after winning the medal. "
— Harika Dronavalli (@HarikaDronavali) August 10, 2022
Harika said that since she learnt the Chess Olympiad would be held in India and her doctor gave her the go-ahead to compete, her whole life revolved around making it to event and securing a medal.
"I literally lived for this moment from past few months and Yes, I made it. First ever Olympiad medal for Indian Women’s chess team," Harika said.
The chess grandmaster reflected on her 18-year journey in chess. She said she had played nine olympiads so far.
"I always dreamt about being on the podium for Indian women’s team and finally made it this time," she added. I kept working every single day to make sure that I perform well."
Abhijit Kunte, the women's team coach, said the bronze victory should usher in better days for women's chess in India.Overall, Indian chess players finished the FIDE Chess Olympiad 2022 with nine medals.