2021 proved to be an overly successful and memorable year for the country’s sporting fraternity.
For Indian sports, 2021 was full of memorable events and unforgettable occasions. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the sportspersons exhibited a higher level of resilience. Despite the restrictions, sportspersons from India made their mark in international events. The previous year saw many Indian sports personalities represent the country in multi-sport meets and prestigious tournaments.
From setting new records to achieving bigger heights, Indian sports saw many feats take place. Whether it was individual achievements or milestones in a team sport, there was a lot to celebrate for the fans. Keeping the focus on the highlights and the events that took place, here are the top 10 moments in Indian sports in 2021.
10. Aditi Ashok’s performance in golf at the Olympics
The Indian golfer was a surprise package at the Tokyo Olympics. She earned a lot of plaudits, thanks to her performance at the women’s golf category. Aditi was in contention to win India’s first-ever medal at the Olympics but narrowly missed out by finishing fourth.
9. Anshu Mailk’s silver medal
Malik etched her name in the history books by becoming the first Indian woman to win a world wrestling championship silver medal. She lost to Olympic champion Helen Maroulis in the women’s 57kg final but received a warm welcome back home. The 20-year-old wrestler has huge potential and promises more silverware in the future.
8. C.A. Bhavani Devi became the first fencer to compete at the Olympics
C.A. Bhavani Devi became the first-ever to represent India at the Olympics in fencing. The sport does not enjoy a huge crowd in India but Bhavani Devi’s achievement will certainly inspire many to take up the sport. She started her campaign brightly by winning the first match, however, was handed a defeat in the second.
7. Double medal haul at the BWF World Championships
The prestigious BWF World Championships in Huelva, Spain saw Indian players display a memorable performance. India won two medals at the tournament, courtesy of Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen. Both shuttlers clashed in the semi-final of the men’s singles bracket, which saw Srikanth emerge as the winner and Sen settling for bronze. Kidambi Srikanth lost in the final but became the first male shuttler to win silver at the BWF World Championships.
6. Women’s hockey’s fourth-place finish
The Tokyo Olympics 2020 were memorable for several reasons and one of them was the women’s hockey team. The outfit showed resilience, determination and an unwavering will to finish fourth, the highest finish in women’s hockey for India. One of the highlights for the team was their win over heavyweights Australia.
5. Paralympics record medal haul
If the performance at the Olympics was commendable, then the performance at the Paralympics was even more impressive. The Indian contingent won a total of 19 medals, consisting of five gold, eight silver and six bronze medals. Indian para-athletes broke the previous best of four medals in 2016 by a long margin.
4. Record medal haul at the Olympics
India did not only break the Paralympics medal haul but the record medal haul in Olympics was also broken. The contingent won a total of seven medals in Tokyo 2020. This feat had one gold, two silvers and four bronze medals. India’s best previous performance came in the 2012 London Olympics, where the contingent won six medals.
3. Hockey medal in Olympics after 41 years
India was a dominant force in hockey back in the 20th century. However, the country was overly unimpressive in the sport in the past few decades until earlier in 2021. Indian hockey team ended a drought of 41 years and won an Olympic medal at the Tokyo Olympics. The bronze medal was one of the highest positives in Indian sport and a focal point of Indian hockey’s resurgence.
2. PV Sindhu’s second Olympic medal
The talismanic shuttler is often regarded as the best individual Indian athlete and her performance at the Olympics justifies the claim. PV Sindhu managed to bag the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first-ever Indian woman to win two Olympic medals. Her first Olympic appearance was in 2016 where she clinched the silver and became the first Indian badminton player to reach the Olympic final.
1. Neeraj Chopra’s gold
The young Indian athlete became an instant icon and scripted history by bagging India’s only gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Thanks to the feat, he became the first Indian to win an athletics medal at the Olympics, and also the first to win gold. This was certainly the biggest achievement in Indian sports in 2021 and Chopra’s gold will inspire thousands to replicate him.