From Gabba Test to Olympic gold: India’s top 10 sporting moments of 2021
2021 has been an excessively successful year for the Indian sports fraternity
Indian cricket team won a Test series in Australia and led 2-1 in England in a COVID-19 postponed series
In the Summer Olympics, India won a record 7 medals, including a gold in athletics
2021 will go down in the annals of Indian sports as a historic year. Indian sportspersons enjoyed tremendous success across multiple sports during the COVID-19 pandemic hit calendar year. Nothing could stop them from joining the leagues of the best. In some cases, Indian athletes even beat the world beaters and emerged champions and this trend continued even beyond the sphere of cricket.
So, as the year comes to the end, Opoyi picks the top 10 moments of Indian sports in 2021.
Breaching Australia’s Gabba fortress
Until January 2021, no cricketing nation had beaten Australia in a Test match at Brisbane's Gabba stadium for the last 33 years. However, the Indian cricket team breached into Australia's much-vaunted Gabba as they chased down a massive fourth innings target on Day 5 to not only clinch the Gabba but also to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1 for the second successive time.
Glorious performance at Para-Olympics
5 gold medals, 8 silver, and 6 bronze. This was the performance of Indian Paralympians at the Tokyo Paralympics. Indian athletes won a total of 19 medals to return home with their best-ever haul from the mega event.
Mithali Raj's 10k international runs
Veteran Indian women's cricket team captain Mithali Raj became only the first Indian and only the second batter after England's Charlotte Edwards to enter the exclusive club of 10,000-run scorers in international cricket. A couple of months later, she surpassed Edwards and became the top run-scorer among the international women’s cricketers.
First Indian fencer in the Olympics
India' CA Bhavani became the first fencer from the country to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Devi, who was ranked 45 in the world at the time, booked a berth in the individual sabre category. She also became the first Indian fencer to advance to the second round in the Olympics after beating Nadia Ben Aziz of Tunisia.
Winning at Lord’s
During the India-England Test series, the Virat Kohli-led Indian team beat England by 151 runs to win their third-ever victory at the 'Home of Cricket'. India levelled the 5-match series at 1-1 after that second Test.
Mirabai Chanu’s Olympic moment
After a heartbreaking exit from the Rio 2016 Olympics, weightlifter Mirabai Chanu created history at Tokyo 2020. The 27-year-old from Manipur won a silver medal in the women's 49kg category for lifting a total of 202kg. She missed the gold by a whisker. China's Hou Zhihui won gold for lifting 8kg more than Chanu.
India's 1st gold in athletics at Olympic
Athletics is the Olympics' most prestigious event. Independent India never saw anybody winning a medal in athletics in the Olympics. But in the Tokyo Olympics, Neeraj Chopra surprised the world when he threw 87.58m in the men's javelin throw final and won the gold at Tokyo's National Stadium.
Double Olympic medallist
Badminton player PV Sindhu became the first individual Indian athlete to win two Olympic medals that too in two successive Olympics. After winning silver in Rio in 2016, she won a bronze in 2021 at the Tokyo Olympics. She lost the semifinal to Tai Tzu Ying.
First silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth
PV Sindhu is India's most decorated badminton player now. She won five BWF World Championships medals – two bronze, two silver and a gold in 2019 – to date. But in the men's category, India have only two bronze till 2021 and no gold or silver. In December 2021, Kidambi Srikanth improved that record becoming first Indian men's shuttler to win a silver medal at the BWF World Championships 2021. Lakshya Sen won bronze, taking the Indian men's medal tally to four at the BWF World Championships.
Remarkable performance at Tokyo 2020
India won a record 7 medals at the postponed Tokyo Olympics in July-August this year, surpassing the previous tally of London 2012, when India won six medals.
Mirabai Chanu opened India’s tally winning silver in the women's 49kg event, bringing home the country's first silver in weightlifting at the Olympics. Then, PV Sindhu clinched bronze in the women's singles badminton event, becoming the first Indian woman to bag two Olympic medals. Boxer Lovlina Borgohain clinched bronze in the women's welterweight category. India then won two wrestling medals; with Ravi Kumar Dahiya bagging silver in the men's 57kg and Bajrang Punia winning bronze in the men's wrestling freestyle 65kg division.
In hockey, the Indian men's hockey team ended a 41-year medal drought by clinching team bronze while the women’s team finished fourth. And finally, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra bagged gold to win India's first-ever gold medal in athletics and become only the second Indian, after Abhinav Bindra in 2008, to win an individual gold at the Olympics.