By: Shubham Ghosh
THE year 2021 was particularly special for India in the sporting arena. From winning a Test series in Australia to bagging most medals in both the Summer Olympics and Paralympics, the country has remained witness to some glorious moments in both individual and team sports.
Here are seven top sporting occasions that featured India in 2021:
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Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra made his country proud by clinching India’s first-ever gold medal in athletics at Tokyo Olympics and also the second Indian sportsperson from the country to win the top medal in an individual discipline at the mega event after Abhinav Bindra who won it in shooting in the 2008 edition in Beijing.
Ace Indian badminton player PV Sindhu became the first Indian woman sportsperson to win two Olympic medals when she won the bronze in Tokyo. She won silver at the Rio edition in 2016.
The men’s hockey team from India, a country which has won the most number of gold medals at the Olympics – eight – but won no medal after 1980, created history in Tokyo. India finished third at the Tokyo games to win a bronze medal in hockey, ending their 41-year drought. The women’s team also came close to winning a medal but lost to Great Britain to finish fourth.
India finished with their best-ever medal haul in Olympics – seven – at the Tokyo Games.
India’s 19-year-old shooter Avani Lekhara created history when she became the first woman from India to win two Paralympics medals in Tokyo. She won a bronze in 50 m rifle 3 Position SH1 besides bagging the gold in 10 m air rifle standing SH1 event.
India also finished with their highest medal tally in Paralympics – 19 – this year.
India repeated their 2018-19 Test series win in Australia once again by beating the Kangaroos 2-1 in a four-match series Down Under. After losing the first Test badly and captain Virat Kohli who went on paternity leave, India under Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy came from behind to pocket the series.
India registered a record eighth SAFF title win in the Maldives by beating Nepal 3-0 in the final. Indian captain Sunil Chhetri also became the second-highest active international goal scorer after top footballers such as Lionel Messi and Pele.
In the recently concluded BWF World Championships in Spain, Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth became the first male player from the country to reach the final and he ended up winning the silver. Another Indian Lakshya Sen, who lost to Srikanth in the semi-final, won bronze.
Ace Indian billiards player Pankaj Advani in December defended his national title — his 11th in the tournament — when he defeated Dhruv Sitwala 5-2 in a best-of-nine games final in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, India.