When it comes to sports in India, all the sports take a back seat except for cricket. To follow your passion under such extreme circumstances and still able to make India proud on an international stage is a commendable feat. This World Athletic Day Let’s take a look at some of the best Indian athletes over the years.
1. Hima Das
Aptly nicknamed as the Dhing Express, in 2018 Hima Das captured the fancy of Indians when she won the 400m running event in the World U-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, and became the first Indian to win gold at an international track event. She repeated her success and created history by winning 5 successful golds within a month at different athletic meets across Poland and the Czech Republic.
2. Sushil Kumar
Sushil Kumar has been earning a name for himself and his nation since the age of 15. So far Sushil has won 1 silver and 1 gold at the Olympic games, 1 gold at the World Wrestling Championship, 2 golds at the Commonwealth Games, and 1 gold, 1 silver, and 3 bronze at the Asian games. An impressive record.
3. Dhanraj Pillay
Dhanraj Pillay is a legend in Hockey. He led Indian team to victory in the 2003 Asia Cup and to a gold in the 1998 Asian Games. Pillay has managed to score a staggering 170 goals in 339 matches.
4. PV Sindhu
PV Sindhu became the first Indian to win the World Championship in 2019. Along the way to her win in the World Championship, she has won numerous medals at multiple tournaments. In 2020, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan award. She was also named BBC Sportswoman of the year in 2020.
5. Sardara Singh
Sardara Singh is the youngest player to captain the Indian hockey team. He led the Indian national team to gold at the 2014 Asian Games. He was honored with Padma Shri in 2015.
6. Shiva Keshavan
Shiva became the first Indian representative to compete in Luge at the Winter Olympics. He managed to create a new Asian speed record and won at the 2011 Asian Luge Cup. Shiva also holds the record for the youngest ever Olympian in Luge.
7. Vijender Singh
Vijender Singh, the boxing prodigy of India, is the first Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal. He has won numerous medals at multiple tournaments and made India proud. In 2015, he went professional and has since held a perfect record of 12-0.
8. Mary Kom
Every kid in India knows her name. She is a five-time amateur boxing champion and the only woman boxer to win a medal at all 6 World Championships. She is the first amateur athlete to win Padma Bhushan and was also awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2020.
9. Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal is a badminton prodigy of India. She became the No. 1 Badminton Player in the World in 2015. She is also the first Indian to win a Superseries title. She has won over 24 major titles in her career.
10. PT Usha
Rightly known as the “Queen of the Indian track and field”, PT Usha bagged 13 golds in the Asian Games and Asian Championships. She is also a recipient of an Arjuna Award and a Padma Shri.