The year 2017 didn’t have too many major sporting spectacles lined up but still it has been an exciting year for sports in India.
From Indian Cricket team establishing its dominance, Indian Football scaling new heights, to individual athletes like P V Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, and many more making the country proud with their accolades at international level, thus keeping the tricolour flying high in the year 2017.
India is slowly but steadily making the progress of becoming a sporting country, the sleeping giants are finding a foothold amongst the global sporting elites.
Here is the list of top 10 Indian Sportsperson in 2017-18, these athletes have made the country proud with their spectacular performances:
Another year and another flurry of milestones for Indian Cricket team captain Virat Kohli. He has led Indian cricket team to great heights and success in the year 2017. Indian team finished the year on a high as the team was ranked first in Test Rankings, while claiming the second rank in both the shorter formats. Apart from leading the team to a successful year, the lady luck was surely on the charismatic leader, as he racked up 8000 in 175 innings becoming the fastest player to reach the milestone. He finished the calendar year as the highest run-getter in the 50-overs format with 1460 runs, while scoring 1000+ runs in Tests as he came fourth in the ranking.
It has been a successful year for Kidambi Srikanth, as the Indian ace shuttler established himself among the elites of the game. The badminton player from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, won four Super Series titles in a year to become the the only men’s shuttler to achieve the feat in 2017. After his disappointing exit in quarter-finals at World Championship in Glasgow, Kidambi came back to his own by winning back-to-back Super Series titles in Denmark and France in a span of a week. He then went onto add two more titles in Indonesia and Australia taking his career tally to six Super Series titles. The road wasn’t as rosy as it seems in order to be crowned champion. He had to overcome some of the toughest challenges in the face of Olympic champion Chen Long, World No.1 Son Wan Ho, and world champion Viktor Axelsen in three different finals.
It has been an eventful year for PV Sindhu, as the ace shuttler won three and lost three finals throughout the year. Major heartbreak for Sindhu came when she lost an all important final at the World Championship to Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in a nerve reckoning three-set game.
She started off the year in blitzkrieg fashion as she registered 12 wins in 13 straight matches across tournaments. Her first title of the year came when she overcame Indonesian Gregoria Mariska Tunjung with a comfortable victory in two sets to clinch the prestigious Syed Modi International.
Soon followed the Indian Open title, where the shuttler from Hyderabad avenged her 2016 Rio Olympics defeat at the hands of Carolina Marin by trouncing the Spanish shuttler in straight sets. The third Super Series title came in the form of Korea Open, when she exacted retribution of her defeat at World Championship final by defeating Nozomi Okuhara .
The year 2017 has been a memorable year for the Indian Football Team captain on both professional and personal front. He finished as the top scorer for Bengaluru FC in the 2016-17 I- League with some stupendous performances, however, the team finished at fourth place in the India’s premiere domestic league. But, that did not deter India’s leading goal scorer to deliver some mesmerising performances for the Indian National Team leading from the front. The Men in Blue went the year unbeaten and scaled into top 100 in the FIFA ranking by the end of year. On personal front, Sunil Chhetri got married to his long-time girlfriend Sonam Bhattacharya towards the end of the year.
The stalwart of Indian Women’s Cricket team, 2017 made Harmanpreet Kaur a household name around the cricketing nations. The 29-year-old lit up the ICC Women’s World Cup in England with her swashbuckling performances throughout the tournament and helped the team reach the finals at the Mecca of Cricket-the iconic Lord’s stadium. The team lost out to host England in an nerve-reckoning final by 9 runs. She smashed the Aussie bowlers all over the park in the semi-finals, during her unbeaten knock of 171 run in 115 balls and in turn registered the second-highest score by an Indian in Women’s ODI. With her 171 runs innings, she scored the highest individual score in knockout matches in the tournament which was earlier held by Karen Rolten with an innings of 107 runs. She also featured in the ICC Women’s top 10 Ranking, becoming the second only Indian batswoman to make it into the list and she was also named in the ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year.
The Indian weightlifting star made the country proud in 2017, when she became the second only Indian woman since Karnam Malleswari to clinch a gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championships held in Anaheim, USA. In the process of clinching the all important gold medal she created a new world record while lifting a total weight of 194 kg in the women’s 48-kg category, with 85 kg in snatch and 109 kg in clean & jerk lift. She ended the country’s 22-year drought of a gold medal at the Women’s World Weightlifting Championships.
Five-time World Champion, MC Mary Kom added another important accolade to her already decorated career by clinching an unprecedented fifth gold medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The Olympic bronze medalist overcame North Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi with a unanimous 5-0 decision in her favour. The gold medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship was the first international medal for the Indian pugilist since her gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games.
The 24-year-old pugilist from the national capital Delhi became the fourth Indian to secure a medal at the World Boxing Championship. Gaurav Bidhuri joined the list of Indian medal winners at World Boxing Championship with Vijendra Singh (2009), Vikas Krishan (2011), and Shiva Thapa (2015). After defeating Tunisia’s Bilel Mhamdi under bantamweight category in the quarter-final bout with a split decision, Gaurav virtually secured a medal to his name; however, his journey was cut short in the semi-final bout against American Duke Ragan with a unanimous 5-0 decision. The young boxing sensation had to be contented with a bronze medal at the World Boxing Championship held in Hamburg, Germany; but his name has been etched in the Indian boxing history as he is second debutant since Vikas Krishan to secure a medal in the debut World Championship.
C A Bhavani Devi created a piece of history when she became the first Indian to secure a gold medal in an international fencing event. The Chennai-based fencer clinched the gold medal after defeating Sarah Jane Hampson of Great Britain 15-13 in the Turnoi Satellite Fencing Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2017. Though the Indian fencer won accolades at various competitions, this is certainly the greatest highlight of her career till now.
The Indian tennis star has finally overcome years of disappointment and heartbreaks at the major tournaments by winning his maiden Grand Slam title. Rohan Bopanna notched up his first Grand Slam title in the mixed-double event at Roland Garros. Indian Tennis player teamed-up with Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski. The pair had to save two match points to overcome the mixed-double pairing of Colombia’s Robert Farah and Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenefeld in three sets, with the Indo-Canadian pair taking the first set 6-2, lost the next set before heading into a tie breaker score where Rohan and Gabriela edged past the Colombian-German duo. With his first Grand Slam victory Bopanna joined Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, and Sania Mirza in an elite Indians’ list of Grand Slam winners.
Note: *The list does not represent the standings of sportspersons in any particular order.