29 Aug 2017
Why do we have a National Sports Day?
National Sports Day is celebrated in honour of legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand on his birthday on 29th August every year.
Dhyan Chand, the greatest field hockey player of all time, helped India bag three Olympic gold medals. Every year, on his birthday, various honours are bestowed upon the players.
On this day, let us take a look at India's achievements in various sports.
Our achievements at the Olympics through the years
The Indian hockey team has bagged a total of 11 medals including 8 golds at the Olympics.
In, 1952 Khashaba Jadhav became the first Indian to win an individual Olympic medal when he bagged the bronze medal.
Since then, Indian have won 13 more individual Olympic medallists.
Of them, Abhinav Bindra bagged the gold at the 2008 Olympics in shooting.
India's achievements in cricket
Over the years, Indian team has established itself as one of the major cricketing powerhouses.
It was in 1983 under the leadership of Kapil Dev, when they won the first World Cup.
However, it wasn't until 2011 that they won their second 50 over WC tournament under MS Dhoni .
The likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar are considered among the all-times greats.
Paes, Bhupati, Mirza
India's achievements in tennis
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi made the sport popular in India when they won the French Open and Wimbledon in 1999.
Saina Mirza has won six Grand Slam titles till now.
However, before Paes, Bhupathi and Mirza, Ramanathan Krishnan was the most famous Indian tennis player.
He made two semi-final appearances at the Wimbledon and even achieved a career-best sixth ranking.
Laurels for India
Other major achievements
Prakash Padukone became the first Indian to win the All England Badminton championships in 1980.
Viswanathan Anand has won world championships five times till now.
Anju Bobby George became the first Indian medalist at the World Athletics Championships in 2003.
Pankaj Advani has 16 billiards/snooker world titles to his name.
Mary Kom has won five world championships in amateur boxing.
Where do we stand now?
India is definitely not at the pinnacle of sports.
While in some sports, we have achieved almost everything, in most we are yet to make a mark.
However, we are improving in those sports, with more focus by the authorities on the development at grassroots level.
With the population we have, it is a surprise really that we don't already dominate most sports.