Neeraj Chopra: History Maker

On the 7th August 2021, 17:38 pm IST, history was created at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. After a long 13 years, Indian finally won another gold medal at the Olympic Games. Subedar Neeraj Chopra VSM had just won the gold medal in the men javelin’s throw and etched himself into Indian sports history. Neeraj Chopra’s gold medal is India’s first athletic track field medal. Apart from that, Neeraj is only the second Indian to win a gold medal after Abhinav Bindra’s historic performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Neeraj Chopra was born on the 23rd of December 1997 in Panipat, Haryana. In 2016, he enlisted in the Indian National Army. He currently holds the post of a Junior Commissioned Officer and has the rank of a Naik Subedar. He has been awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal by the Indian Army. He is a Track and Field athlete and specializes in javelin throw.

Neeraj Chopra started participating in javelin throw competitively since 2016 He has put on consistent performances. Apart from that, he also has 2 world records to his name. He competed in the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships (the Junior World Championships) and on the 23rd of July 2016 won the gold medal. He also set a world record on that day for the longest throw (86.48 meters). The record still stands and has not been broken yet. In the same year, he won the South Asian Games. His throw of 82.23 meters equaled the national record of that time. In 2017, he won another gold medal at the Asian Athletics Championship. His winning throw was 85.23 meters.

The 2018 Glasgow Commonwealth Games were his first Commonwealth Games, where he ended up winning the gold medal. With this gold medal win in his debut appearance, he not only became to first Indian athlete to win in the javelin throw category at the Commonwealth Games, but also became one of the very few Indian athletes to win a gold medal in their first Commonwealth Games appearance. For this outstanding performance here, he was awarded with the Arjuna Award. He broke the previous national record and set a new one while competing in the Doha Diamond League with a throw of 87.43 meters.

The 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games were his first time competing at the Asian Games. He was selected as the flag-bearer for these games on account of his brilliant performance that year, especially his 2018 Commonwealth Games success. He won India her first gold medal in the javelin throw category in the Asian Games and also broke the national record he himself had set with a winning throw of 88.06 meters. In March 2021 at the Indian Grand Prix, he again broke his record with a marginally higher 88.07 meters.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were Neeraj Chopra’s first ever Olympic Games. He won the gold medal in the finals held on the 7th of August with a winning throw of 87.58 meters and created history. He is the second Indian athlete to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics and the first Indian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in the discipline of athletics.

Subedar Neeraj Chopra VSM with his Tokyo 2020 Gold Olympic medal
Subedar Neeraj Chopra VSM with his Tokyo 2020 Gold Olympic medal

Saina Nehwal: India’s Badminton Queen

Introduction and Early Life

Saina Nehwal is undoubtedly India’s greatest badminton player and one of India’s most iconic sports personalities. Saina was born on the 17th of March 1990 in Hisar, Haryana. Saina’s mother was a state-level badminton player while her father used to play badminton at the university-level. Saina originally took up badminton as a child due to loneliness. She also wanted to fulfil her mother’s dream of playing badminton at a national level. She trained at Pullela Gopichand’s Gopichand Badminton Academy, then trained at Prakash Padukone’s Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, before returning to the Gopichand Badminton Academy. Saina also holds a brown belt in Karate.

Saina with her parents
Saina with her parents

Achievements

Saina is a former World No. 1 player, with her being declared the World No. 1 female badminton player on the 2nd of April, 2015. This made her the only female Indian and second Indian overall to achieve this. She is currently the World No. 19. She is the only Indian to win at least one medal in all of the major existing BWF individual events- the Olympics, the BWF World Championships, the BWF Junior World Championships- at any point of time. She is the first Indian badminton player to win an Olympic medal and advance to the BWF World Championship finals. She is also the only Indian badminton player to win the BWF World Junior Championship. In May 2006, with her winning the Philippines Open, Saina became the first Indian woman and youngest Asian to win a 4-star badminton tournament. She is the first Indian to win a Super Series title. Saina is also the first Indian badminton player to win two gold singles medals at the Commonwealth Games, with her wins in the 2010 and 2018 Games. She captained the Indian team and contributed majorly to getting India a bronze medal in the 2014 Thomas and Uber Cup, which was also the country’s first major BWF event team medal.

In 2008, she received the Most Promising Player of the Year (2008) award from the Badminton World Federation. She was a recipient of the Arjuna award in 2009 and the Padma Shri in 2010. She also was the recipient of the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna that year. In 2016, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour.

Saina being awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna
Saina being awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna
Saina being awarded the Padma Bhushan
Saina being awarded the Padma Bhushan

Career Highlights

Saina has played a total of 640 singles matches till date, and has won 440 of them. She has won 4 Super Series Premier events, 7 Super Series events, 8 Grand Prix Gold events and 1 Grand Prix title. In the 2012 London Olympic Games, she won the bronze medal. She has won 2 gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, in the years 2010 and 2018. She won a bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Games. In the BWF World Championship, she won a silver medal in 2015 and a bronze medal in 2017. Saina has won 3 bronze medals in the Asian Championships in the years 2010, 2016 and 2018. At the national level, Saina is a 13-timw winner of the National Badminton Championships.

Saina with her Olympic bronze medal
Saina with her Olympic bronze medal

Major Dhyan Chand: The Magician of Hockey

On the 6th of August 2021, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi tweeted that the Government of India would be renaming India’s highest sporting honour from the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna to the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna. This announcement came on the heels on the Men’s Indian Hockey team winning the bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This is significant due to the greatness and impact Major Dhyan Chand left on the sport especially in India. Nicknamed The Wizard and The Magician of Hockey, he was renowned worldwide for his superior skills and extraordinary ball control skills.

Early life

Major Dhyan Chand was born on the 29th of August 1905 in Allahabad in what was then known as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh in British-India. His father was a member of the British Indian Army. Major Dhyan Chand grew up with hockey right from his birth; his father used to play hockey for the Army. However, apart from playing casual games of hockey with his friends, according to Major Dhyan Chand, he did not have any serious interest in hockey. He joined the British Indian Army on his 17th birthday.

Major Career Achievements

Major Dhyan Chand started playing hockey competitively after joining the British Indian Army. Initially he played only tournaments within the army. His first international competition was in a tour against New Zealand. He was selected to be a part of the Indian hockey team for the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games. Despite it being the debut Games for the hockey team, they dominated it and ended up winning the gold medal. Major Dhyan Chand was the top-scorer in the whole tournament. This was the Games which lead to his nickname The Magician of Hockey. In the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, he was once again a part of the hockey team as they once again won the gold. In 1934, he was appointed as the captain of the national team. In the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Major Dhyan Chand captained the team into winning its third consecutive gold medal.

Post-Retirement

Major Dhyan Chand continued playing hockey even after retiring from the competitive field. He used to regularly teach hockey in coaching camps at Mount Abu in Rajasthan. He was appointed to the position of Chief Hockey Coach at the Patiala branch of the National Institute of Sports and had a tenure of many years there. He passed away on the 3rd of December 1979.

Legacy

The Government of India declared his birthday, the 29th of August as National Sports Day. It is also the day when sports-related awards are conferred. India’s highest award for a lifetime achievement in sports was named the Dhyan Chand Award. The National Stadium in Delhi, a field hockey stadium, was renamed as the Dhyan Chand National Stadium. On the 6th of August 2021, India’s highest sporting award, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna was renamed to the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna in highlight of the contribution and impact Major Dhyan Chand left on hockey both nationally as well as internationally.

PV Sindhu: India’s Current Face of Badminton

Early Life

Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (PV Sindhu) was born on the 5th of July, 1995 in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Coincidentally, both her parents were professional volleyball players who have played at the national level. In 2001, Indian male badminton player Pullela Gopichand won the All-England Open Badminton Championship. This piqued the interest of a young Sindhu, who became interested in the discipline of badminton. She started playing badminton when she was 8 years old. She initially trained at the Indian Railway Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunication, and later joined Pullela Gopichand’s Gopichand Badminton Academy.

Career

Sindhu starting playing badminton competitively at a tender age. She was successful right from a young age. When competing in the under-10 years category, she won the 5th Servo All India ranking championship in both the singles as well as doubles categories. While competing in the under-13 years category, she won the singles and doubles title at multiple Indian badminton competitions. In the under-14 years category, in the 51st National Games, Sindhu won a team gold medal.

Sindhu started playing internationally at the age of 14. She won the bronze medal at the 2009 Sub-Junior Asian Badminton Championships. In July 2012, she won the Asian Junior Championships. She won her first Grand Prix Gold title in 2103 by winning the Malaysia Masters. In the same year, the became the second Indian to win a medal in the singles category at the Badminton World Championships. She also won the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold. In 2014, she won the bronze medal at the Asian Championships and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. She won another bronze medal in the 2014 BWF World Badminton Championships. In 2016, she won the silver medal in the Rio Olympics and created history as the youngest and first female Indian athlete to win a silver Olympic medal. She won the silver medal in the 2017 World Championships. In 2018, she became the only Indian to win the BWF World Tour Finals and won India her first silver singles medal at the 2108 Asian Games. In 2019, she became the first Indian to win a gold medal at the World Championships. In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she won the bronze medal.  

PV Sindhu winning the silver medal at the Rio Olympics
PV Sindhu winning the silver medal at the Rio Olympics
 PV Sindhu winning the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics
PV Sindhu winning the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics

Achievements

Sindhu is the current World No. 7, having reached the rank of World No. 2 in 2017. She is the first Indian to win and become the World Badminton Championship, as well as the first Indian woman to reach an Olympic Final with her competition in the finals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. With her podium finish in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she now also holds the record of being the first Indian woman to win two medals at the Olympics. She is the second Indian athlete individually to win two consecutive Olympic medals. She is the second woman worldwide to win either five or more medals at the Badminton World Championships. In 2013, she was awarded the Arjuna Award. In 2015, Sindhu was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award. 2016, she received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna (formerly known as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna), India’s highest sporting honour. In 2020, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award. In 2018 and 2019, Sindhu was a part of Forbes’ list of the Highest-Paid Female Athletes. On the 8th of March 2020, she was declared as the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year.

Sindhu being awarded the  Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna
Sindhu being awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna

Mirabai Chanu: India’s Newest Olympic Medalist

On the 24th of July, 2021, history was made at the Tokyo International Forum. Saikhom Mirabai Chanu just won India her first medal in the ongoing 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the category of Weightlifting in Women’s 49 kg by claiming the silver medal and earning India it’s highest and second medal in weightlifting after Karnam Malleswari’s bronze medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu was born on the 8th of August, 1994 at Nongpok Kakching. It is a village around 30 kms to the east of Imphal, the capital city of Manipur. She belongs to the Meitei, an ethnic group of people who are native of Manipur. Her family consists of her parents and five other siblings; three sisters and two brothers. Her father is a government employee contracted with the publics work department, while her mother sells samosas. Out of all their children, Mirabai was the only child who decided to pursue sports as a profession. Her athletic prowess came to light in her early childhood. According to her mother, a young Mirabai, then in class 6 had told her that she would one day play in the Khuman Lampak Stadium While Mirabai initially wanted to pursue archery, she was unable to do so due to her lack of height (Mirabai Chanu is 4”11). Her weightlifting prowess was known since her early childhood, as a twelve-year-old Mirabai had no difficulty in lifting and carrying weights which even her elder brother had difficulty in trying to pick up. This weightlifting prowess of her inspired her to take up the sport of weightlifting.

Mirabai Chanu with her family
Mirabai Chanu with her family

Mirabai’s first major win in her career as a weightlifter came in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. She competed in the Women’s 48 kg category and won the silver medal. While Mirabai qualified for and competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, she was unsuccessful in her endeavor. However, she made a stunning comeback from that defeat the next year in the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships in the Women’s 48 kg category. She won two medals: Gold and Silver. Mirabai won Gold by lifting 109 kg in Clean and Jerk and Silver by lifting 85 kg in Snatch. Her total lifting of lifting 194 kg in total created a record.

Mirabai winning Gold at the  2017 World Weightlifting Championships
Mirabai winning Gold at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships

In the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Mirabai won the first medal with a Gold medal by lifting a total of 196 kg; 110 kg in Clean and Jerk and 85 kg in Snatch. This set a new record for the Commonwealth Games in her weight category. In the 2019 World Weightlifting Championship, Mirabai set a new national record in Women’s 49 kg by lifting a total of 201 kg (87 kg Snatch and 114 kg Clean and Jerk). On the 17th of April 2021, at the 2020 Asian Weightlifting Championship, she set a new world record for Clean and Jerk by lifting 119 kg. She won a bronze medal here. By June 2021, she was second in the rankings for Women’s 49 kg and was the only Indian weightlifter who qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Mirabai's Gold medal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
Mirabai’s Gold medal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

On the 24th of July 2021, Mirabai won the Silver medal in the Women’s 49 kg category by lifting 202 kg and created history. She succeeded Karnam Malleswari as the second Indian woman weightlifter to win an Olympic medal. Mirabai holds the honor of winning the highest medal in the weightlifting category in the Olympics that India has ever won. She also set a new Olympic record in the Clean and Jerk category by lifting 115 kg.

Mirabai's historical Silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Mirabai’s historical Silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Mirabai has stated that her triumph at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is a ‘dream come true’ for her.

First Olympic Gold Medal for Bermuda

Olympics is a leading international sports event held every four years. With more than 200 participant nations.

Each year hundreds of athletes from all over the world gather at the host country and rival each other for first place in different events. This year Bermuda,  a British island territory in North Atlantic which first participated in the games in the year 1936. Witnessed a major development as Flora Duffy wins first-ever gold for the country in triathlon.

Who is Flora Duffy?Duffy, a 33-year-old female athlete who was diagnosed with anemia in 2013. But still, she managed to bounce back. She is also a two-time former world triathlon series champion.

What is Triathlon?Triathlon is a grueling race made up of a one-mile open water swim, 25 miles of biking, and a run of 4.6 miles.


The 33-year-old finished with a time of 1hour55:36 minutes. Her opponent, Georgia Taylor-Brown ended in second place took a minute more than her. Third place was secured by the Katie Zaferes of the United States.

OLYMPICS

OLYMPICS:

Olympic a set of international sports competitions that happen once every four years. The Olympic games are held in different countries on each occasion. The Olympics were an internationally significant event that unites people from all over the world. The Olympic Games are considered the world’s foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are normally held every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years in the four-year period. The Olympic Games include all the sports registered by the International Olympic Committee as Olympic sports. Olympic Games are the largest sporting event, in terms of the number of sports on the program, the number of athletes present and the number of people from different nations gathered together at the same time in the same place.

HISTORY OF OLYMPICS:

The Olympic games started thousands of years ago and lasted over a millennium. The Greeks loved sport and the Olympic Games were the biggest sporting event in the ancient calendar. The Olympic Games began over 2,700 years ago in Olympia, in southwest Greece. The most important and prestigious were the games held at Olympia to honor Zeus, the king of the gods. The modern Olympic games began in 1896. Pierre de Coubertin was a French educator and historian, founder of the , and its second president. He is known a International Olympic Committee s the father of the modern Olympic Games.

OLYMPIC SPORTS:

Currently, the Olympic program consists of 35 different sports, 53 disciplines, and more than 400 events. The Summer Olympics includes 28 sports with 38 disciplines and the Winter Olympics includes 7 sports with 15 disciplines. The list of Olympic games are,

  • 3*3 basketball
  • Acrobatic gymnastics
  • Alpine skiing
  • Archery
  • Artistic gymnastics
  • Artistic swimming
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Beach Handball
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Biathlon
  • BMX
  • Bobsleigh
  • Boxing
  • Breaking
  • Canoe
  • Cross Country skiing
  • Curling
  • Diving
  • Equestrian Dressage
  • Equestrian Eventing
  • Equestrian jumping
  • Fencing
  • Figure Skating
  • Football
  • Freestyle skiing
  • Futsal
  • Golf
  • Handball
  • Hockey
  • Ice hockey
  • Judo
  • Karate
  • Luge
  • Modern pentathlon
  • Mountain bike
  • Nordic combined
  • Paralympic
  • Rhythmic gymnastics
  • Road cycling
  • Roller speed skating
  • Rowing
  • Rugby
  • Sailing
  • Shooting
  • Short track speed skating
  • Skateboard
  • Skeleton
  • Ski jumping
  • Ski mountaineering
  • Snowboarding
  • Softball
  • Speed skating
  • Sport climbing
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Table tennis
  • Taek wondo
  • Tennis
  • Track cycling
  • Trampoline
  • Triathlon
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Weight lifting
  • Wrestling

IMPORTANCE OF OLYMPIC GAMES:

The Olympics is important because at no other time does practically the entire planet come together, regularly and in a positive way, to experience the same thing. The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play.

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT OLYMPICS:

  • Women have been allowed to compete in the Olympics since 1900. The Olympic Games have been hosted by 23 different countries.
  • Olympic games were not held in the following years due to the two world wars 1916, 1940, and 1944.
  • Olympic Games are so-called because they were held in the city of Olympia.