India is a country of billions with million dreams . One of those dreams is to be in the Indian colours and being the reason for the rise of Indian tricolour with the melody of National anthem post a podium finish or lifting the world cup from the Lord’s balcony or a winning six at Wankhede . India is strongly going at 70 not out after 1947 Independence and looks to continue its domination.Sports has also seen a vital change with changing infrastructure,Sports as a hobby to sports as a profession and also the huge support of government funds for the players. With the Independence day nearing, we bring you 15 Revolutionary Indian athletes who revolutionized Indian sports.
1:) Cricket ( Kapil Dev)
India was not a powerful cricketing nation in 70’s or 80’s and was ranked between 6-8 . Then things turned around with the inclusion of tall hunk from Chandigarh named ” Kapil Dev” . The Haryana Hurricane captained the Indian side with an ordinary individual record – 32 Matches, 608 Runs (Average: 21), 34 wickets coming into the 1983 world cup. Kapil impressed one and all with his sharp bowling and aggressive batting ,he almost contributed in every match and influenced the team to beat a strong West Indies in the finals to clinch the world cup.The photo of him lifting the trophy from Lord’s balcony scripted a great influence in the country and Indian cricket has not looked back since then , thanks to the efforts of this great allrounder ,India has ever produced.
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2:) Football ( Baichung Bhutia)
Football was always an underestimated sports in India with the national team ranked outside 200 in the early 90’s and 20’s . But then was the turn of Bhutia’s reign in Indian football that changed the things completely . He is considered to be the torchbearer of Indian football in the international arena and is often nicknamed the Sikkimese Sniper because of his shooting skills in football.Three-time Indian Player of the Year I. M. Vijayan described Bhutia as “God’s gift to Indian football”. The man from Sikkim played for some foreign clubs that let Indian players believe that they can follow his footsteps to develop their game by playing for a foreign club and also getting financially stabled.He retired in 2011 but sowed the seed of development that has taken Indian football to new heights .
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3:) Boxing (Mary Kom)
India was never short of champion boxers but they failed to make it count at the international arena and finally this jinx was broken by Mary Kom. She is one of the most decorated boxers in the world and was influenced by the success of Dingko Singh to take up boxing. She has been an inspiration to many boxers in India and the world by becoming the 6 times Women’s World Amateur Boxing Champion(2001,2002,2005,2006,2008,2010) and also grabbing an all important Olympic bronze in 2012. Mary’s success was influential and as a result, bunch of champion boxers are in the fray now.
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4:) Wrestling ( Sushil Kumar)
Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world. In what was seen primarily as a way to stay fit, the sport has evolved tremendously over the years .India produced one of the greatest wrestlers like KD Jadhav and The Great Gama but somehow they failed to create an impact . Wrestling in India got a boost with the entry of Sushil Kumar .His best effort came at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when he clinched bronze in the 66 Kg category. In the 2012 London Olympics, he went one better to win the silver medal thus becoming the first Indian to win back-to-back individual medals at the Olympics. Impressive run from the man brought belief in wrestlers and this sports is now the biggest medal prospect for India. These 5 bollywood songs can be the best inspiration .
5:) Shooting ( Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore)
Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s first international success came at 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, where he won Gold in both the individual and pairs category of the Double Trap event. 2003 Shotgun Championships in Cyprus turned out to be a medal prospect for him as he won a bronze.Certainly his most memorable achievement as a shooter came in 2004 Athens Olympics, where he won a silver medal in the Double Trap event missing gold by a whisker, which also turned to be India’s only medal in the Games. He was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2004 for his silver medal-winning feat and gave wings to other shooters to follow his footsteps and as a result champion shooter like Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang emerged.
6:) Hockey (Dhyan Chand)
India is a land of producing top players in hockey and Dhyan Chand deserves the top position because of his glorious record in the history of Indian hockey. This legendary player is also regarded as one of the best players of all time. He was given the name “The Wizard” because of his skill and control over the ball. He is remembered as the most talented player to have been produced by India and world ever.He has achieved many records for his country during his international career. Thanks to his superb performance, India could win gold medals in 1928, 1932, and 1936 Olympics. He played his last game in 1948, scoring 400 international goals, holding the record of highest goals scored. He was conferred the Padma Bhushan award by the Government of India and undoubtedly is regarded as the biggest inspiration for many players of hockey.
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7:) Golf (Jeev Milkha Singh)
This one name is one of the greatest golfer in India who has proved India in terms of sports in every step. He was born in the year 1971. He is the son of famous Indian Olympic athlete Mikha Singh .He has received number of achievements as a golfer and has proved Indian sports nationwide. He was the first Indian golfer to become a member of the European tour. He ranked 12 in the 2008 European Tour Tournament. This famous golfer is also the first Indian to make to the top 50 and has given wings to other Indian golfers .The sport is now widely practised in India.
8:) Badminton (Prakash Padukone)
India has a rich history in producing world’s best badminton players but Prakash Padukone is arguably India’s finest badminton player ever. His first major victory was winning the gold medal at the 1978 Commonwealth Games. Two years later, he became the first Indian to win the All England Championships by winning the title in 1980. Padukone also won the gold medal at the 1981 World Cup in Kaula Lampur and the bronze medal at the 1983 World Championships. He was the world’s number one player in 1980 and often considered as the father of Indian badminton .He is also the father of famous Indian actress Deepika Padukone.
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9:) Tennis ( Leander Paes)
Tennis was not a friendly sports in India before Leander Paes set the ball rolling at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics to win a bronze . He is best and most talented Tennis player India has come up with. His all around hard work/diligence, athleticism, will to win ,unshakable commitment and true love for the game has taken Indian tennis to new heights which has inspired the young talents to take up the game and as a result India is now a strong team in Davis Cup with a furry of youngsters in the fray. Paes in now 43 years old and still going strong with an eager to win India its next medal in Tennis at 2020 Olympics.
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10:) Billiards or cue sports ( Geet Sethi )
Geet Sethi is undoubtedly one of the most famous and greatest Indian billiard players. In his glorious career, Sethi has won an astounding eight world billiards titles and is widely regarded as one of the best the game has ever seen.This famous player was born in the year 1961. He has made many records in the history of snookers. He dominated the world of sports till 1990’s ,having won the first major English billiards event in the year 1982. He made his mark in the international level by winning the IBSF World Amateur Billiards Championships in the year 1985 and is also the recipient of highest sporting award, the Rajiv Ganhi Khel Ratna award in 1992-1993. He received Arjuna and Padma Shri Award in the year 1986 and the K.K Birla Award in the year 1993 and as a mark of his contribution to Indian billiards many players like Pankaj Advani has risen continuing the legacy of Billiards in India.
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11:) Weightlifting ( Karnam Malleswari)
Malleswari is considered to be the greatest Indian weightlifter of all time. . She won the world title in the 54 kg division in 1994 and 1995 and placed third in 1993 and 1996. She won another bronze medal at the 2000 Olympics, becoming the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal. In 1995 she received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna,India’s highest sporting honour, and in 1999 the civilian Padma Shri award.
12:) Kabaddi (Anup Kumar)
Kabaddi is the most famous and profilic sports in India with many champion players being produced by India . However Anup Kumar has made a difference . He was the most valuable player in season one of the Pro Kabaddi league and due to his cool attitude on the mat he got the title of “Captain cool” . His sharp skills and nack of picking the bonus points got the attention of all .He is the prominent reason of removing the tag of “Rural sports” from Kabaddi and giving it the right glamour it deserved.Many youngsters have now started to take this game seriously and want to be successful as Anup Kumar. Must Read : 5 players to look forward in Pro Kabaddi league season 5
13:) Sprinting or Running ( Milkha Singh)
Milkha Singh is considered to be the flag bearer of Indian sprinters . He is also known as The Flying Sikh who was introduced to the sport while serving in the Indian Army. He was the only Indian athlete to win an individual athletics gold medal at a Commonwealth Games until Krishna Poonia won the discus gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He also won gold medals in the 1958 and 1962 Asian Games. He represented India in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome where he finished 4th and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour, in recognition of his sporting achievements.Many youngsters have influenced by him and now India has a big contention of sprinters who are eager to make a mark.
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14:) Table Tennis ( Achanta Sharath Kamal)
Sharath Kamal is considered to be the greatest TT player from India . The man from Chennai is the first Indian to represent the country at the Olympics with 2 olympic appearance (2004,2016) . He is current world number 43 and the ray of hope for the Indians in TT ,which is not a game where India have produced many top player . His services to the nation have been a fascinating journey and has continued to inspire many to take up the game . Players like Soumyajit Ghosh and Manika Batra have emerged and TT in Indian continues to get better.
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15:) Gymnastics (Dipa Karmakar)
She is the first bengali as well as Indian female gymnast ever to compete in the Olympics, and the first Indian gymnast to do so in 52 years.She attained 4th position in Women’s Vault Gymnastics event of Rio Olympics 2016 with an overall score of 15.066. She is recipient of Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India. She first gained attention when she won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow,becoming the first Indian female gymnast to do so in the history of the Games.Karmakar is one of the only five women who have successfully landed the Produnova, which is regarded as the most difficult vault currently performed in women’s gymnastics and has continued to inspire many aspiring Indian gymnasts