Independent India's top-10 sporting moments
Clockwise: Indian hockey team with the World Cup, Yashpal Sharma and Mohinder Amarnath celebrate after the 1983 World Cup final, K D Jadhav, Karnam Malleswari at Sydeny 2000, Indian players exult after winning the 2022 Thomas Cup, Viswanathan Anand with the world championship trophy in 2000, Sushil Kumar on the podium at Beijing 2008, Abhinav Bindra at Beijing 2008, P V Sindhu at Tokyo 2020 and Neeraj Chopra in action in the Tokyo Olympics final. Photo: AFP & Manorama Archives

India@75 | Top-10 sporting moments since Independence

Monday marks the 75th anniversary of Indian independence. There have been quite a few heady triumphs for India on the sporting field in this period. Onmanorama picks India's top-10 sporting moments in chronological order.

Jadhav wins maiden Olympic medal

K D Jadhav
K D Jadhav. Photo: Manorama Archives

K D Jadhav made history at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics when he won a bronze medal in freestyle wrestling. This was independent India's maiden Olympic medal. Prior to this Norman Pritchard had won two silver medals for colonial India in athletics at the 1900 Paris Games. Jadhav, who passed away in 1984, remained India's lone individual Olympic medallist till tennis star Leander Paes joined him at the 1996 Atlanta Games by winning a bronze.

Hockey World Cup triumph

India win hockey World Cup
Indian players lift captain Ajit Pal Singh after winning the 1975 World Cup. Photo: Manorama Archives

Though India had reigned supreme in Olympic hockey, the World Cup had eluded them in the first two editions. The Indians ended third in the first World Cup in 1971 and finished second best to the Netherlands two years later. Ajit Pal Singh & Co emerged triumphant with a hard-fought 2-1 win over arch-rivals Pakistan in Kuala Lumpur in 1975. India have never even made it to semifinals of the World Cup after this epochal triumph.

Kapil's Devils stun the world

Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev with the World Cup. Photo: Manorama Archives

Kapil Dev's India did the unthinkable in the 1983 Cricket World Cup. The Indians tamed two-time defending champions West Indies by 43 runs in a low-scoring final at Lord's. The win sparked a cricket revolution in the country and the game has never been the same.

Malleswari clinches historic bronze

Karnam Malleswari
Karnam Malleswari in action at Sydney 2000. File photo: AFP/ Patrick Hertzog

Weightlifter Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal by clinching a bronze at Sydney 2000 in 69 kg. After P T Usha's narrow miss in 400m hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Malleswari broke the barrier Down Under.

Anand on top of the world

Viswanathan Anand and Alexei Shirov
Viswanathan Anand and Alexei Shirov in action in the 2000 World Championship final. File photo: AFP/Behrouz Mehri

Viswanathan Anand had become the first Indian Grandmaster in 1988 at the age of 18. The wizard from Chennai emerged world champion in 2000 when he beat Spaniard Alexei Shirov in the final in Tehran. Anand has been the trend-setter for chess in India and has played a big role in India becoming a powerhouse in the sport.

Bindra's Olympic glory

Abhinav Bindra
Abhinav Bindra reacts after winning the Olympic gold. File photo: AFP/Valery Hache

Abhinav Bindra ended India's long wait when he gunned down gold in 10m air rifle at Beijing 2008 to bring home the country's first Olympic gold medal in an individual sport. Shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore's silver medal in double trap in the previous edition in Athens was the best effort by an Indian till then.

Sushil's twin Olympic medals

Sushil Kumar
Sushil Kumar gestures on his arrival in New Delhi after becoming the first Indian to win multiple Olympic medals in individual events. File photo: AFP/ Prakash Singh

Wrestler Sushil Kumar became the first Indian to win multiple Olympic medals in individual events when he followed up his bronze medal from Beijing 2008 with a silver in 66 kg four years later in London. Sushil's exploits inspired a generation of wrestlers.

Sindhu emulates Sushil

P V Sindhu
P V Sindhu reacts after winning a point against He Bingjiao in the bronze medal play-off at Tokyo 2020. File photo: AFP/Pedro Pardo

Badminton star P V Sindhu emulated Sushil by winning a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics last year to become only the second Indian to have multiple individual Olympic medals. The Hyderabadi also has the distinction of being the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver at Rio 2016. 

Chopra lands first gold in athletics

Neeraj Chopra
Neeraj Chopra competes in the Tokyo Olympics final. File photo: AFP/Ben Stansall

Neeraj Chopra achieved a major breakthrough when he won the country's first Olympic medal in athletics, and that too a gold, in Tokyo last year. The ace javelin thrower produced 87.58m in his second attempt to clinch the coveted medal. 

Thomas Cup victory 

India win Thomas Cup
Indian players celebrate on the podium after winning the Thomas Cup. File photo: AFP/Manan Vatsyayana

Indian shuttlers outplayed Indonesia 3-0 in the final at Bangkok to win the Thomas Cup for the first time in May this year. The Indians had edged out Malaysia and Denmark 3-2 in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. Kidambi Srikanth, Lakshya Sen, Keralite H S Prannoy and the doubles combination of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy played a big role in India's landmark win. 

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