Independent India’s top-10 sporting moments | Sports News

Monday marks the 75th anniversary of Indian independence. There have been some exhilarating triumphs for India on the sporting field during this period. Onmanorama picks India’s top 10 sporting moments in chronological order.

Jadhav wins first Olympic medal

KD Jadhav

KD Jadhav. Photo: Manorama Archive

KD Jadhav made history at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics when he won a bronze medal in freestyle wrestling. This was independent India’s first Olympic medal. Previously, Norman Pritchard had won two silver medals for colonial India in athletics at the 1900 Paris Games. Jadhav, who died in 1984, remained India’s only singles medalist at the Olympics until tennis star Leander Paes joined him at the 1996 Atlanta Games and won bronze.

Hockey World Cup triumph

India wins Ice Hockey World Championship

Indian players lift captain Ajit Pal Singh after winning the 1975 World Cup. Photo: Manorama Archives

Although India ranked first in Olympic ice hockey, the World Championship had eluded them in the first two editions. The Indians finished third in the first World Cup in 1971 and second behind the Netherlands two years later. Ajit Pal Singh & Co triumphed in 1975 with a hard-fought 2-1 win over arch-rivals Pakistan in Kuala Lumpur. India did not even make it to the semi-finals of the World Cup after this epochal triumph.

Kapil’s Devils stun the world

Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev with the World Cup. Photo: Manorama Archive

Kapil Devs India did the unthinkable at the 1983 Cricket World Cup. The Indians tamed the two-time defending champions West Indies in a low points final at the 43-run Lord’s. The victory sparked a cricket revolution in the country and the game was never the same.

Malleswari takes historic bronze

Karnam Malleswari

Karnam Malleswari in action in Sydney 2000. File photo: AFP/Patrick Hertzog

Weightlifter Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal by winning bronze at Sydney 2000 with 69kg. After PT Usha’s narrow miss in the 400m hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Malleswari broke the barrier Down Under.

Anand at the top of the world

Viswanathan Anand and Alexei Shirov

Viswanathan Anand and Alexei Shirov in action in the 2000 World Championship final. File Photo: AFP/Behruz Mehri

Viswanathan Anand had become the first Indian grandmaster in 1988 at the age of 18. The magician from Chennai became world champion in 2000 when he defeated Spaniard Alexei Shirov in the final in Tehran. Anand has been the trendsetter for chess in India and has played a major role in India becoming a powerhouse of the sport.

Bindra’s Olympic Glory

Abhinav Bindra

Abhinav Bindra reacts after winning Olympic gold. File Photo: AFP/Valery Hache

Abhinav Bindra ended India’s long wait when he shot gold with a 10-meter air rifle in Beijing in 2008, taking home the country’s first Olympic gold medal in an individual sport. Rifleman Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s silver medal in double trap at the previous edition in Athens was the best performance by an Indian to date.

Sushil’s double Olympic medals

Sushil Kumar

Sushil Kumar gestures on arrival in New Delhi after becoming the first Indian to win multiple Olympic medals in individual events. File Photo: AFP/ Prakash Singh

Wrestler Sushil Kumar became the first Indian to win multiple Olympic medals in individual competitions when he followed up his bronze medal from Beijing 2008 with silver in 66kg four years later in London. Sushil’s exploits inspired a generation of wrestlers.

Sindhu emulates Sushil

PV Sindhu

PV Sindhu reacts after winning a point against He Bingjiao in the Tokyo 2020 bronze medal match. File Photo: AFP/Pedro Pardo

Badminton star PV Sindhu emulated Sushil by winning a bronze medal at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, becoming only the second Indian to win multiple individual Olympic medals. The Hyderabadi also has the distinction of being the first Indian woman to win Olympic silver at Rio 2016.

Chopra lands first gold in track and field

Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra attends the Tokyo Olympics finals. File Photo: AFP/Ben Stansall

Neeraj Chopra made a major breakthrough when he won the country’s first Olympic medal in track and field and also gold in Tokyo last year. The javelin throwing ace managed 87.03 m in his attempt to win the coveted medal.

Thomas Cup victory

India wins the Thomas Cup

Indian players celebrate on the podium after winning the Thomas Cup. File Photo: AFP/Manan Vatsyayana

Indian Shuttles defeated Indonesia 3-0 in the final in Bangkok and won the Thomas Cup for the first time in May this year. The Indians defeated Malaysia and Denmark 3-2 in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively. Kidambi Srikanth, Lakshya Sen, Keralite HS Prannoy and the doubles combination of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy played a big part in India’s landmark win.

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