Which Indian athletes have won Olympics medal and World Championships gold in individual events?

M Sudharshan

April 13 2023
Olympics medal and World Championships

It takes a special talent to go on and become World Champion and win a medal at the quadrennial event.

Olympic Games and World Championships are the two most important tournaments in athletes’ careers. Winning a medal in either of the two events adds more value to the athlete and helps him grow in stature. Currently, four athletes from India have gone on to win the World Championships (in their respective sport) and have medalled at the Olympics as well. In this article let us discuss the list of athletes to have achieved the following feat.

List of Indians to have won Olympics medal and World Championships:

Karnam Malleswari 

Karnam Malleswari became the first woman from India to win an Olympic medal (bronze) at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The weightlifter from Andhra Pradesh received many accolades in a decade-long career winning the World Championships twice (along with two bronze medals). Malleswari predominantly participated in the 54kg weight category but won the Olympic bronze in 69kg. She slowly made a shift to a higher weight category and in 1998 won the silver medal in Asian Games (63kg).

Performance in the 2000 Sydney Olympics

Snatch – 110kg and Clean & Jerk – 130  

Total – 240kg 

Malleswari received the Arjuna award in 1994, the Khel Ratna award in 1999, and Padma Shri (India’s fourth highest civilian honour) in 1999.

Major Achievements

World Championships – bronze medal (1993 and 1996) and gold medal (1994 and 1995)

Asian Games – silver medal (1994 and 1998)

Olympic Games – bronze (Sydney 2000) 

Mary Kom 

Mary Kom Asian Boxing ChampionshipsMary Kom Asian Boxing Championships

Mary Kom is the only female boxer to have won a medal in each one of the first seven World Championships, and the only boxer (male or female) to win eight World Championship medals. She also became the first Indian woman boxer to win a medal at the 2012 London Olympics (bronze). Until 2008, only men boxers were allowed to compete at the Olympics but things changed in the 2012 Olympics when female boxers were given the go-ahead.

“Magnificent” Mary has won several sporting and civilian awards. 

Padma Bhushan (2013), Padma Vibhushan (2020), Khel Ratna (2009), Padma Shri (2006), and Arjuna award (2003). 

Major Achievements 

World Championships – gold medal (2022, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2018), silver (2001), and bronze (2019)

Asian Games – gold (2014) and bronze (2010)

Asian Championships – gold medal (2003, 2005, 2010, 2012, and 2017) and silver medal (2008 and 2021). 

Olympic Games – bronze medal (London 2012)

P.V Sindhu 

PV Sindhu is the first and only Indian to become the World champion (badminton) and only the second individual athlete from India to win two consecutive medals at the Olympic Games. Sindhu started her career early and competed in the prestigious All England Championships (aged 16). 

The 27-year-old won the first medal (silver) for India at the 2016 Rio Olympics (India won only two medals overall in 2016) losing to Carolina Marin in a close battle in the final. The Two-time Olympic medallist is known for delivering her best at prestigious tournaments. Both her parents have been national-level volleyball players. Her father, Ramana was a member of the Indian volleyball team that won the bronze medal in the 1986 Seoul Asian Games.

Major Achievements

World Championships – gold medal (2019), silver (2017 and 2018), and bronze (2013 and 2014)

Asian Games – silver (2018)

Olympic Games – silver medal (Rio 2016) and bronze medal (Tokyo 2020)

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu

Mirabai Chanu Commonwealth Games

Mirabai Chanu’s first breakthrough year was in 2014 when she won the gold medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games (48kg). Two years later she qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics but couldn’t deliver a result (owing to unsuccessful lifts in any of her three attempts in the clean & jerk section).

Chanu made a great comeback in 2017 and won the gold medal in the women’s 48 kg category by lifting a record 194 kg (snatch – 85kg and clean&jerk – 109kg) at the World Championships She lifted 201 kg (snatch – 87kg and clean&jerk – 114kg) to finish fourth and created a new national record in the 49 kg category. She broke her (PB and NR) again four months later when she lifted 203 kg (snatch – 88kg and clean&jerk – 115kg) to win the gold medal at the 2020 Senior National Weightlifting Championships.

She became the second weightlifter after Karnam Malleswari to win a medal at the Olympic Games (2020 Tokyo) lifting 202kg.

Major Achievements

World Championships – gold medal (2017) and silver (2022)

Asian Championships – bronze medal (2020)

Olympic Games – silver medal (Tokyo 2020)

Abhinav Bindra

Abhinav Bindra is the first and one of the only two Indians to win an individual Olympic Gold medal. Also, he is the first Indian to have held concurrently the World championships and Olympic titles for the men’s 10-meter air rifle event (shooting). 

Major Achievements

World Championships – gold medal (2006)

Olympic Games – gold medal (Beijing 2008)

Asian Games – Bronze medal (2014)

Sushil Kumar

Sushil Kumar’s 2008 Olympic medal was the second for India in wrestling and the first since Dadasaheb Jadhav’s bronze medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games. Apart from winning two medals at the Olympics, he has won five gold medals at the Commonwealth Championships and two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.

Major Achievements

World Championships – gold medal (2010)

Olympic Games – silver (London 2012) and bronze (Beijing 2008)

Asian Games – bronze medal (2006)

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

Rajyavardhan Singh RathoreRajyavardhan Singh Rathore

At the 2002 Commonwealth Games, Rathore won a gold medal and set a new Commonwealth Games Record of 192 targets out of 200 in the men’s doubles trap. He rose to prominence when he won the silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics. It was India’s first-ever individual silver at the Olympics.

Major Achievements

World Championships – gold medal (2006), silver medal (2004), and bronze medal (2003 and 2006)

Asian Games – bronze medal (2006) 

Olympic Games – silver medal (Athens 2004)

Lovlina Borgohain

Lovlina Borgohain won a bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games (welterweight category) thus becoming the third Indian boxer to win a medal at the Olympics. She took part in the first World Championships in 2018 and won the bronze medal. She went on to win the bronze in the successive edition. The Assamese wrestler won the gold medal in the 2023 edition becoming one of the most successful female boxers from India.

Major Achievements

World Championships – gold medal (2023) and bronze medal (2018 and 2019)

Olympic Games – bronze (Tokyo 2020)

Asian Championships – gold medal (2022) and bronze medal (2017 and 2021)

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