70 years of Independence: 7 decades of sporting glory

first_imgAs India completes 70 years of Independence, India Today celebrates the laurels won by the country at  global events in the world of sports. India remains the only team to have won eight gold medals in men’s hockey at the Olympics. The country has won the Cricket World Cup twice while Abhinav Bindra remains India’s only individual gold medallist in Olympics.Here’s a look at what India achieved after Independence in sports from athletics to cricket.1940s – POST INDEPENDENCEIndia won their first Olympic gold post Independence in 1948 at the London Olympics in field Hockey. India continued with their stranglehold in the sport even after Independence adding to the three gold medals they had earlier won in 1928, 1932 and 1936. (70 years of Independence: India’s most decorated sporting heroes in the modern era)1950sThe Indian national football team created history by winning gold at the Asian Games at New Delhi in 1951.India remained a powerhouse in men’s field hockey in 1952 Olympics at Helsinki as well with yet another solid performance to finish on top of the podium.Khashaba Jadhav became India’s first individual Olympic medallist after Independence when he finished with bronze in wrestling (bantamweight) at the 1952 Helsinki Games. (What India was crazy about: Hockey first, Cricket later, Football, Kabaddi now?)The Indian cricket team’s first ever Test series victory came in 1952-53 when Pakistan toured India for the first time for a five-match series. India emerged victorious 2-1.Four years later in 1956, at the Melbourne Games too, India continued to dominate the world. Again, finding no challenger for the top prize, they bagged their sixth gold in men’s hockey.advertisementIn 1958, Milkha Singh became the first Indian athlete to win an individual gold at the Commonwealth Games at Cardiff. Mikha, also known as The Flying Sikh, is best remembered for his fourth-place finish in the 400 metres final at the 1960 Olympic Games.1960sIn the 1960 Rome Games, India finished runners-up in field hockey but four years later at Tokyo, they bounced back in style to clinch their seventh gold medal.In 1962, the Indian football team again finished as the best side to clinch the gold medal in the Asian Games at Jakarta.There was much joy in cricket as well. India’s first away Test series victory came in 1967-68 in New Zealand where all four matches produced results. India won the series 3-1.1970sIndia had never won a Test series against the West Indies home or away but in the 1971 series in the Caribbean, India made history by beating the cricket powerhouse 1-0 in three-Test series. The great Sunil Gavaskar also made his debut in the same series. He started his career with 65 and 67 not out in his first Test which was instrumental in India’s victory.Later in 1971, India toured England, who were high in confidence after winning the Ashes series in Australia. India too were confident of creating an upset after their victory over highly-fancies West Indies. India drew the first two Tests before beating England in the third and final Test to win their first ever series in England 1-0.In 1979, India recorded their first Test series victory over Australia, winning the six-match series 2-0.1980sAfter a gap of three Olympics where India failed to win the top prize, the 1980 Olympics in Moscow was a memorable one for Indian men’s hockey. They were back to their best proved the world why they have won the most number of gold medals in the sport. However, unfortunate as it may sound the 1980 gold medal was India’s eighth and the last gold medal in hockey. Since then India have struggled to maintain that spark and have even failed to finish in top three.In 1983, Kapil Dev-led Team India stunned the world by winning the World Cup at Lord’s. India defeated the favourites and the two-time defending champions West Indies by 43 runs in the final to win the mega prize.In 1987, Sunil Gavaskar became the first batsman ever to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket. Gavaskar scored 63 against Pakistan at Ahmedabad to breach the 10000-run barrier.Viswanathan Anand became India’s first chess grandmaster in 1988. Anand was also the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991-92, India’s highest sporting honour.1990sAfter 16 years, Leander Paes broke India’s jinx at the Olympics, when he settled for bronze medal in men’s singles tennis.In 1999, Anil Kumble became only the second bowler after Englishman Jim Laker to pick all 10 wickets in an innings of a Test match. Kumble achieved the feat against Pakistan at New Delhi.advertisement2000sKarnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal when she finished third to get a bronze in weightlifting in women’s 69kg category at the Sydney Games.In 2001, Harbhajan Singh became the first Indian to bag a hat-trick in Test cricket. Playing at Eden Gardens, Harbhajan removed Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne to help India beat Australia for one of the best comeback victories recorded in Test cricket.In 2004, Virender Sehwag became the first Indian Indian batsman to slam a triple century in Test cricket. The triple ton was special as it came in Pakistan’s Multan. India won the first and the third Test to record their first ever series win in Pakistan.Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore became India’s first shooter to win laurels for the country in the sport. In 2004, at the Athens Olympics Rathore finished second to get a silver medal in men’s double trap shooting event.In 2007, a young cricket team led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the inaugural World Twenty20 title in South Africa.In 2008, Abhinav Bindra created history by bagging gold in men’s 10m air rifle event at the Beijing Games. His gold remains the country’s first and only individual gold medal till date. India’s two other rising stars boxer Vijender Singh and wrestler Sushil Kumar also finished with bronze medals.Sachin Tendulkar etched his name in the history of world cricket by slamming 200 not out agaisnt South Africa at Gwalior in an ODI match. He became the first batsman ever to achieve the feat.Suresh Raina became the first Indian to score a hundred in T20 Internationals. He achieved the landmark against South Africa at Gros Islet in World T20 in 2010.In 2011, India became the first team to win the Cricket World Cup at home. An out-of-form MS Dhoni promoted himself up the batting order and played the captain’s knock as India defeated Sri Lanka in the final.Sachin Tendulkar became the first man on the planet to hit 100 international centuries. He achieved the feat when he hit 114 against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup.In the 2012 London Games, India produced their best ever medal hauls to bring home six medals – two silvers and four bronze. Shooter Vijay Kumar and wrestler Sushil bagged silver medals while shooter Gagan Narang, boxer Mary Kom, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and shuttler Saina Nehwal settled for bronze medals.In 2013, MS Dhoni became the first and the only captain to win all ICC trophies when India defeated hosts England in the final to lift ICC Champions Trophy.In 2013, Sachin Tendulkar played his 200th Test thus becoming the first player ever to play as many matches in the longest format. Tendulkar also retired from international cricket after his 200th Test.In 2014, Rohit Sharma became the first batsman ever to score his second double century in ODIs. Rohit also rewrote history books by smashing the highest individual score of 264 vs Sri Lanka at Kolkata.In 2016, India’s top stars and medal hopes faltered at the big stage. Saina Nehwal, Yogeshwar Dutt and shooting stars all failed to repeat their 2012 feats. However, shuttler PV Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi Malik ensured India return home with couple of medals. While Sindhu ended runner-up in women’s badminton single final, Sakshi bagged bronze and became first woman wrestler from India to win an Olympic medal.advertisementVirat Kohli became the first-ever batsman to score double hundreds in four consecutive Test series. He scored double hundreds against the West Indies, New Zealand, England and Bangladesh in the 2016-17 cricket season.Pankaj Advani has dominated the world billiards for several years now. He has won 16 world titles (12 billiards and 4 snooker). Advani made his international competitive debut at the Asian Billiards Championship 2002. He has also won gold medals at the 2006 and 2010 Asian Games.last_img read more