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21 Nov, 2019

Indian Sports: The Golden Journey of 70 Years

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Indian Sports refer to the several types of games played in India, ranging from tribal games to more popular sports such as Cricket, Badminton and Football. In terms of popularity, Cricket is the most loved sport in India. Our nation has hosted and won several Cricket World Cups. The most successful sport at the Olympics for India is Field Hockey; the Indian men’s hockey team has won 8 Olympic gold medals. The most famous home-grown sport is Kabaddi in the country. India’s other popular sports are Football, Badminton, Shooting, Boxing, Wrestling, Tennis, Weightlifting, Squash, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Athletics, Basketball, Cycling and Volleyball. Some less common yet very much loved and played sports at the local level in our nation are Chess, Kho-Kho, Kite-Fighting, Leg Cricket, Polo, Snooker and Gillidanda. The country has hosted and co-hosted various international sports events, most notably the 1951 and 1982 Asian Games; 1987, 1996 and 2011 ICC Cricket World Cups; the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Here is the list of the events that have happened in the last 70 years in Indian Sports History 

In 1948

  • India won its first post-independence gold medal in field hockey in London Olympics. 

In 1950

  • India got invited to participate in the Football World Cup—coming nearer to the world’s most popular sporting event. But India did not participate because it could not fund the trip.
  • Abdul Bari reached the British Open Squash final but lost to Egyptian player Mahmoud Karim. 

In 1951

  • India hosted its first major sporting event—the Asian Games held in Delhi. 

In 1952

  • KD Jadhav won India’s first-ever bronze medal in freestyle bantamweight wrestling in Olympics at the Helsinki Games. And for the first time, two Indian women participated in the games—Nilima Ghose and Mary D’Souza.


  • India’s brightest star Balbir Singh Sr. won a gold medal in hockey at the Olympics with which India won their fifth hockey gold medal.
  • Rita Davar - Indian tennis player finished runner-up at junior Wimbledon.
  • Gool Nasikwala won women’s singles and doubles titles at Asian Table Tennis Championships in Singapore.

In 1956

  • Neville D’Souza scores a hat-trick at the Melbourne Olympics against Australia. India finished fourth, the best result at the Olympics in football at that time.

In 1958

  • Indian billiards player Wilson Jones became the first world champion in any sport.
  • Indian wrestler Lila Ram became the first to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

In 1960

  • Ramanathan Krishnan reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon; it was the best performance for an Indian tennis player in Grand Slam singles.
  • Milkha Singh missed a bronze medal at the Rome Olympics by 0.1 seconds in the 400m sprint.

In 1962

  • India won their second gold medal in football at the Asian Games, beaten South Korea by 2-1 in the final at Jakarta. 

  • Padam Bahadur Mall is the first Indian boxer who clinched a gold medal in Jakarta at the Asian Games

In 1971

  • Ajit Wadekar led the Indian Cricket team and beat West Indies in a Test series by (1-0), with Sunil Gavaskar who scored 774 runs in his debut series. Indian team won their second match of the five-Test series at Port of Spain, while the other matches are drawn.

  • India beat England by four wickets at the Oval and won the three test match series by 1-0—India’s first test series victory in England.

In 1975

  • India won the Hockey World Cup by beating Pakistan 2-1 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This remains India’s only world title in the sport.

In 1980

  • India got their last gold medal in hockey at Olympics on a depleted field.

  • Indian Tennis Player Prakash Padukone won the All England Open Badminton Championships.

In 1983

  • After coming in to bat at 17-5, Kapil Dev scored 175 against Zimbabwe in the World Cup 1983, to lead India to the victory in a one-sided match. This way, underdog India won its first-ever Cricket World Cup.

In 1985

  • India won the Benson and Hedges World Championship of cricket in Australia, proved that the 1983 World Cup victory was not an accident.
  • Geet Sethi has beaten Bob Marshall and won the IBSF World Amateur Billiards Championship.

In 1986

In 1987

  • Sunil Gavaskar became the first Indian cricketer to score a huge 10,000 runs in Test cricket.
  • 33-years-old, Vijay Amritraj inspired India into the Davis Cup final, started with an epic five-set victory over a pretty younger and higher-ranked player, Argentina’s Martin Jaite, in the first round.

In 1988

In 1990

  • India won the gold medal at the Beijing Asian Games in men’s Kabaddi, where the indigenous sport was introduced

In 1994

In 1996

  • After 44 years, Leander Paes won India’s second individual Olympic medal (bronze) in tennis in Atlanta.

In 1997

  • Mahesh Bhupathi became the first Indian who won a Grand Slam title in the French Open mixed doubles with Rika Hiraki of Japan.

In 1998

In 1999

  • Anil Kumble took all 10 wickets (all-out the whole team) for 74 runs against Pakistan in Delhi. England’s Jim Laker was the only other player to do this in 1956.
  • Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes won the French Open doubles. The duo played three Grand Slam finals that year, got the victory at Wimbledon as well.
  • Bhaichung Bhutia became the second Indian ever to play professional football in Europe, for a second division club Bury FC in England. 

In 2000

In 2001

  • P. Gopichand won the All England Open Badminton Championships.
  • VVS Laxman scored a double-hundred 281, and Rahul Dravid scored 180 against Australia in the second Test, pull India out of trouble at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. India won the Test and subsequently the series after having lost the first.

In 2002

  • Koneru Humpy (15-years-old) became the first female chess Grandmaster from India, Koneru is the world’s youngest female Grandmaster.

In 2003

  • Anju Bobby George clinched a bronze medal in the long jump at the World Championships in Paris.

In 2004

  • Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore became India’s first individual silver medallist in the men’s double trap shooting event at the Olympics in Athens.
  • Virender Sehwag became the first Indian batsman to score a triple hundred in Tests against Pakistan in Multan.
  • India won the Cricket Test series for the first time against Pakistan.

In 2005

  • Narain Karthikeyan became the first Indian who drives in the F-1, with team Jordan.
  • Pankaj Advani (Nineteen-year-old) became the first player to gain victory in both, points and time formats in IBSF World Billiards Championship in Malta. Pankaj beats Devendra Joshi in the points format and Geet Sethi in the time format.
  • Sania Mirza gained victory in AP Tourism Hyderabad Open and became the first Indian woman who won a WTA singles title.

In 2007

In 2008

  • Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian shooter to vanquish an individual gold medal in 10m rifle shooting at Olympics in Beijing.
  • Vijender Singh became the first Indian boxer to win a bronze medal at the Olympics in Beijing.
  • BCCI started the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the 20-20 format, which soon became one of the world’s most valuable sporting properties.

In 2009

In 2010 

In 2011

In 2012

  • Mary Kom, the Indian female boxer won a bronze medal in women’s boxing at her very first appearance at the London Olympics. Mary had five World titles at that time.
  • Sushil Kumar became the only Indian to win two individual medals in Olympics, a silver in wrestling in London after his bronze in Beijing.
  • Deepika Kumari won her first gold medal in individual Recurve archery at World Cup in Antalya, Turkey. 
  • Sachin Tendulkar became the first batsman in the world to score 100 international centuries.

In 2015

  • Saina Nehwal became the world’s No. 1 in badminton after victory in India Open BWF Super Series. She is the first Indian woman who achieved this feat. 

In 2016 

  • P.V. Sindhu won a silver medal in badminton at the Rio Olympics.
  • The first Indian female wrestler, Sakshi Malik, won a bronze medal in the 58kg wrestling at Rio Olympics.
  • India’s first female gymnast, Dipa Karmakar finished fourth in the vault at Rio Olympics but captured the nation’s attention.

In 2017

  • Indian Women’s Team reached the ICC Women’s World Cup final, but lose to England.

In 2018

  • Mary Kom won her 6th gold medal in World Championship by beating Hannah Okhota in 48kg category and became the first-ever women boxer to win six gold medals in World Championship.
  • Hima Das created history and became the first Indian woman to win an IAAF World Title.
  • Manika Batra became the first Indian Table tennis player to win a medal in Asian Games.
  • Dipa Karmakar, the Indian women gymnast, won a gold medal in Gymnastics World Cup. She also became the first Indian women gymnast to win a medal in the global event.

In 2019

  • Dutee Chand became the first Indian woman sprinter to win a gold medal in the 100m dash event at 30th Summer University Games in Italy.
  • Hima Das won five gold medals in different meets across the Czech Republic and Poland in this year of July within 20 days.
  • P.V Sindhu won a gold medal and being crowned in BWF World Championship, became the first Indian badminton player to achieve this.
  • Manasi Joshi, a Para-badminton player, created history by winning a gold medal in BWF Para-Badminton World Championships.
  • PU Chitra, India’s middle-distance runner, clinched a gold medal in women’s 1500m at the Folksam Grand Prix in Sweden.
  • Pankaj Advani won IBSF Worlds Billiards Championships Title.
  • For the first time, Indian won the SAFF U-18 football championship by defeating Bangladesh in the finals by 2-1.
  • Praveen Kumar became the first Indian man to win a gold medal at Wushu World Championships.
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