Did you know the National Sports Day, is named in honour of Major Dhyan Chand? Celebrated on the 29th of August, when the legendary hockey player birthday falls. In this article, we take a look at some of the greatest achievements of Indians in different sports:
Mohun Bagan’s victory over East Yorkshire Regiment
This was the first ever incident of any Indian football team defeating any British opponent. This happened in 1911 and attained special significance due to the then ongoing Swadeshi Movement. The Colonial government had a disdain towards Indians in such a physical sport. But not only did Mohun Bagan win the game, they won it playing barefoot against fully booted opponents.
National Hockey Team at the 1936 Olympics
Like Mohun Bagan’s football victory, this one too had symbolism well beyond sport itself. Dhyan Chand himself was at the forefront of India’s 8-1 victory in the final over Germany in Berlin right in front of a certain Adolf Hitler. The latter’s racists theory took a major beating with this.
National Football Team’s 4th place finish at the 1956 Olympics
India has been a perennial underachiever in football, yet we came very close to genuine success almost immediately after independence. This team spearheaded by the likes of Sailen Manna, P.K. Banerjee and Chuni Goswami stormed to the semi-finals of the Melbourne Olympics only to fall short to the Magical Magyars of Hungary who were the eventual winners.
National Cricket Team winning the 1983 World Cup
Cricket like hockey is one sport where we have admittedly achieved a lot so choosing one over another would not suffice. From Sunil Gavaskar’s record-breaking to Anil Kumble’s ten-wicket haul and from the comeback victory in the 2001 Kolkata test to anything ever done by Sachin Tendulkar, are all moments that bring much joy and pride to Indians. Yet, no achievement can possibly surpass the country’s first ever world-cup triumph in England back in 1983.
P.T. Usha’s Quadruple Gold Tally at Asiad 1986
What P.T. Usha did in Seoul was totally out-of-the-blue. She became the first Indian woman to totally dominate the track events at a single event, winning four gold medals and one silver in the process.
Devendra Jhajharia’s Paralympics Gold in Athens & Rio
Devendra Jhajharia’s contributions stand in contrast to the other illustrious names mentioned in this list. Not only has he made the country proud by winning two Olympic gold medals, he has done it with a clear disability. The Government of India recognized his unique contribution in 2017, when he became the first para-athlete to win the highest sporting honour in the country, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.
Deepa Malik Created History Being The First Indian Woman To Bag A Medal At Paralympics
Indian athlete Deepa Malik created history by becoming the first ever woman from the country to win a medal at the Paralympics. She clinched a silver medal in the shot put F-53 event in Rio de Janeiro. Her throw of 4.61m was the best in her six attempts. This is India’s third medal in the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Her feat has earned her cash awards worth Rs 4 crore under the Haryana Sports Scheme for winning the medal. She is also the first Indian woman to participate at the Paralympics.
Abhinav Bindra’s Individual Shooting Gold 2008 Olympics
India’s gold medals in hockey are part of common lore. But, we did not have an individual gold-medallist until Abhinav Bindra’s efforts in Beijing. He won gold in the 10-metre air rifle.
This list could not be exhaustive as there are many more we would have liked to honour. But for now, let us simply rewind these epic memories.