There have been plenty of sporting disciplines where our athletes have made the nation proud.
The Olympic Games is undoubtedly the most prestigious sporting event on the planet. The essence of the Olympics is understood in the excitement that builds when it comes around every four years. It also adds great prestige to the city that is hosting these games and there have been some iconic moments over the years for us to bear witness to and reminisce with many more to come in Tokyo later this year.
The Olympics have added glitter to India’s own sporting history as plenty of Indian Olympians have gone on and won the hearts and the respect of their fellow countrymen and peers with their grit and determination to come out on top. India has won a total of 28 Olympic medals since the 1900 Games in Paris which marked India’s first appearance in the quadrennial event.
Today, Khel Now takes a look at the sports in which our athletes won the most number of medals and made us and the nation proud on the global stage.
India has been a bright spark in the world of badminton as the nation has produced plenty of gifted players. The likes of Saina Nehwal to Kidambi Srikanth have won multiple tournaments and been right up there with the best.
The Olympics added more gloss to the quality that the nation possesses as Badminton has contributed two medals to the total tally of 28 won by Indians since the turn of the previous century.
Both the medals were won by women, the first being a bronze medal won by Saina Nehwal in the 2012 London Olympics. The ace shuttler advanced to the semifinals before losing to top seed Wang Yihan in straight games but won the Bronze medal match against Wang Xin. The second one was even better, with PV SIndhu almost clinching gold before heartbreakingly losing to Spain’s Carolina Marin after a marathon game that lasted 83 minutes. Nonetheless, she came up with a silver medal for all her efforts.
Athletics has contributed to a total of two medals to the Indian medal tally at the Olympics. In fact, the first two medals that India ever won at the Olympics was in athletics and sadly that continues to be the only medals we have ever won in the sport on the biggest sporting event on the planet.
But nonetheless, these medals came all the way back at the 1900 Paris Olympics when Norman Pritchard participated on behalf of British India (still under British colonial rule). Pritchard won two silver medals in the 200m and the 200m hurdles events thus making him the first Asian-born athlete to ever win an Olympic medal.
Shooting has also been a very fruitful contributor to India’s medal tally in the Olympics. In total, India has won four medals across various shooting disciplines in the Olympics.
It started with former sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore winning a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics in the Double Trap event. The crowning in our Olympics history this century came through shooting when Abhinav Bindra clinched a historic gold medal in the 10m Air Rifle event in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The win also made him the first and only Indian Olympian to date to win a gold medal this century.
The 2012 Olympics saw India double their tally in shooting when Gagan Narang (10m Air Rifle) and Vijay Kumar (25m Rapid Pistol) won bronze and silver respectively.
Apart from hockey, shooting is the only discipline which has contributed to a gold medal for India at the Olympics.
Wrestling has contributed to a total of 5 medals to India’s total tally of 28. The first medal India won in wrestling was back in the 1952 Olympic games at Helsinki when Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav clinched the bronze medal in the men’s freestyle Bantamweight event.
Two among the five medals was won by Sushil Kumar who won the bronze in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the silver in the 66 kg men’s freestyle discipline four years later at London. He remains the only Indian Olympian from this century to win two Olympic medals and also the only wrestler from India to win two Olympic medals.
Other Olympians who won medals in the Olympics for wrestling include Yogeshwar Dutt who won bronze in the 2012 London Olympics and Sakshi Malik who also won bronze in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Hockey is the most productive sporting discipline in terms of medals in the Olympics. The country has produced some of the greatest exponents of the sport, most notably Maj. Dhyan Chand and Leslie Claudius.
India’s tally of 11 Olympic medals (8 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze) from hockey is the highest among any country on the globe. That, in itself, says a lot about the legends who led us to history in the sport. India participated in hockey for the first time in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics and won five consecutive Olympic gold medals stretching till the 1952 Helsinki Olympics (the Olympics was cancelled in 1940 and 1944 due to World War II). Our tally of eight gold medals is also the highest among hockey-participating nations when it comes to the Olympics.
The Indian hockey team also won gold medals in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, and finally ended at the 1980 Olympic Games held in Moscow. Other medals won include one silver medal in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, and bronze medals in 1968 (Mexico City) and 1972 (Munich). Since the 1980 games, we are yet to witness the country win a medal in the sport.