India is a country where cricket is treated as a religion, and the achievement of players from other sports are often ignored. Besides cricket, India has produced some of the top class sportspersons in many arenas. Some individual sports personalities have brought laurels to India on several occasions at the international level.
Here is the list of some top sportsperson of the country who have made the nation proud.
Dhyan Chand, the hockey wizard, was known for his fantastic goal scoring skills. The goal machine helped India to win three consecutive Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932, and 1936. During the time of Dhyan Chand and other great hockey players, India entirely dominated the international hockey circuit. Dhyan Chand is still considered the greatest hockey player the world has ever produced. His birthday is celebrated on August 29, as the National Sports Day in the country.
Sprinting is in the blood of Milkha Singh. The legendary athlete is also known as the ‘Flying Sikh’. The sprinter was the first Indian athlete who bagged the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games. But Milkha Singh missed the bronze medal by a whisker in the 1960 Rome Olympics in the 400-metre race. He won four gold medals in the Asian Games.
The icon of India cricket not only scored tons of runs, but he also broke several batting records. He made his Test debut at a tender age of 16 years. But he immediately proved his class. He has many records in his kitty-highest runs in Test and ODI, maximum centuries in both forms of cricket, and many more. The champion batsman made the batting as easy as eating pudding. He played a crucial role in India’s 2011 cricket world cup victory. Most of the top bowlers of the world would not like to bowl to Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Sachin still rules in the hearts of millions of cricket fans not only in India but across the globe.
The Indian woman cricketer doesn’t get the same status as the men’s cricket. She has shown steadfast progress to the game despite all odds, and she has scored over 6,000 runs in one-day internationals. Mithali Raj led side lost the 2017 women’s World Cup final in 2017 against England by nine runs. She is a legend of Indian women cricket and became the inspiring force of many young girls.
When we talk about chess, then Vishwanathan Anand’s name must come in our mind. He is India’s greatest chess player and considered to be one of the finest chess masters in the world. Anand has the distinction to become India’s first chess grandmaster at the age of 20. The versatile chess genius is a five-time World Chess Championship winner. He was given the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2013, the highest sporting honour in India.
Mary Kom, the most famous Indian female boxer bagged the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and a gold medal in the Asian Boxing Championship. She is from Manipur and won a five-time World Amateur Boxing champion.
Saina Nehwal became the first Indian female badminton player who achieved the world number one ranking in the world. She won several titles including a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics. She has helped a lot in popularising badminton in the country. Currently, she is the cynosure of young badminton players’ eyes.
Pankaj Advani is an unsung hero. He is an 18-time World Billiards and Snooker Champion. It is a rare achievement for a sportsperson. He has the distinction between winning both the billiards and snooker IBSF World Titles as well as the World Professional Billiards Championship.
Abhinav Bindra is a well-known name in the shooting. He was the first Indian who bagged a gold medal in Olympics and achieved this feat in the 10 metre Air Rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
The legendary female India sprinter finished fourth at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in the 400-metre hurdle. She missed the bronze medal by a mere 1/100th of a second. The sprint queen never dejected and bagged five gold medals and a bronze in the 1985 Asian Athletics Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia. She had won many medals in Asian Games as well.
Hockey legend Balbir Singh, a three-time Olympic gold medalist died a couple of days ago. The lightning-fast centre-forward was the only Indian athlete among 16 picked up by the International Olympic Committee across modern Olympics history. He scored five goals against the Netherlands in the 1952 Helsinki Games hockey final.
Bajrang Punia is a household name in the country. The dynamic freestyle wrestler won a silver and two bronze medals in World Wrestling Championships. He has bagged gold medals in Asian Games and Commonwealth Games as well.
India has produced a good number of great athletes. Gradually, sporting culture is developing in the nation. Days are not far away when Indian athletes would bring more and more laurels to the country.