On 29th August every year, India celebrates National Sports Day on the occasion of hockey player Major Dhyan Chand’s birth anniversary. Major Dhyan Chand Singh created history by bringing home three gold medals at three consecutive Olympic events. The iconic personality has been a shining star, both, in the Army, as well as on the hockey field.
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu
Mirabai’s entry into the world of sports was destined from the age of 12, when her brother saw her carrying a heavy bundle of firewood. Her family members promoted her strength in weightlifting and she entered a sports academy at a very young age. In 2014, Mirabai Chanu initiated her career in the women’s 48 kg category and won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, Glasgow. Her moment of national glory was at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, when she secured second place with a silver medal in the 49 kg category by lifting 202 kg. She became the first Indian weightlifter to grab a silver medal in the Olympics after Karnam Malleshwari. Recently, Mirabai won a gold medal at the 2022 CWG (England), in the 49 kg category by lifting a weight of 201 kg in total.
Neeraj’s tryst with sports began when some local children teased him about his childhood obesity issues and his father enrolled him in a gymnasium. The javelin throws he witnessed at Shivaji stadium in Panipat piqued his interest. On 4 August 2021, Chopra made his debut at the Tokyo Olympics, winning the gold in the final on 7th August. His throw of 87.58 m in his second attempt, made him the first Indian Olympian to win a gold medal in athletics, and the first post-independence Indian Olympic medalist in athletics. 24-year-old Neeraj was ruled out of 2022 CWG after he got injured in the finals of World Athletic Championship, where he secured the silver medal. Now he is all set to participate in the upcoming Lausanne Diamond League.
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu
Though Sindhu’s parents played professional volleyball, she chose badminton over it after gaining inspiration from the success of Pullela Gopichand, the 2001 All England Open Badminton Champion. She was only eight years old when she started playing badminton. At the 2022 CWG, Sindhu won her maiden Commonwealth Games gold medal in the women’s singles, beating Michelle Li of Canada in the final. This achievement has made her the second women’s singles player to win a full set of medals at the CWG.
Vinesh is the daughter of wrestler Rajpal Phogat. Her family had to deal with a lot of opposition from their community in Haryana in allowing her to pursue wrestling, but they never gave up.
Vinesh Phogat is an Indian wrestler who became the first Indian woman wrestler to win gold in both Commonwealth and Asian Games. Phogat is the first Indian athlete to be nominated for Laureus World Sports Awards in 2019. She comes from a successful family of wrestlers, with her cousins being international wrestlers and Commonwealth Games medalists as well.
Sharath was introduced to table tennis by his father at the early age of 4. Sharath’s father, along with his uncle Muralidhar Rao (both state level players and national level coaches), groomed him professionally. He is the first Indian table tennis player ever to become ten times Senior National Champion, hence breaking the record of eight-time National Champion, Kamlesh Mehta. In 2019 he was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award. In 2022 Sharath Kamal won his 4th medal in Birmingham when he defeated Liam Pitchford of England, to win Gold in men’s singles table tennis category.
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