12 Greatest Highs in Indian Sport in the Last 12 Months
In a year that saw several young sportspersons emerge during two of the biggest multi-sport, multi-country events in the world also saw India captain Virat Kohli reaching greater heights, and MC Mary Kom creating history at 35 years of age. All through the year, India remained in the news for its achievements in sports ranging from Table Tennis to Athletics.
In another year that our sportspersons brought glory to their country, here’s a recap of the 12 greatest Indian sporting moments in the last 12 months.
1. Mary Kom's Record 6th World Title
At 35, MC Mary Kom punched her way to a record sixth World title, becoming the most successful female boxer in the history of the World Championships. In her comeback year to the sport, Mary also won golds at the Commonwealth Games and the International Silesian Boxing Championship in Poland.
2. MS Dhoni’s CSK Shine on Comeback
Chennai Super Kings completed a fairytale comeback to the IPL as the MS Dhoni-led team defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by 8 wickets in the final to win their third league title. This was the season the ‘Men in Yellow’ were making a comeback after serving a 2-year ban.
3. PV Sindhu’s Historic Finish
After five second-place finishes in the year, PV Sindhu defeated Nozomi Okuhara in the final to become the first Indian to clinch a World Tour Finals gold. Before this, the Olympics silver-medallist had won silvers at Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships.
4. Virat & Co’s Memorable Start Down Under
India’s 31-run win over Australia in Adelaide on 11 December marked the first victory Down Under in 10 years. This was also their first win in a series opener in Australia, and only their sixth Test win in the country.
5. Manika Batra’s Breakout Year
Manika Batra became the most successful Indian in a single edition of the Commonwealth Games as she won 4 medals in 4 events that she participated in. At just 22, the Indian table tennis player bagged two golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze in Gold Coast.
6. Another Virat Year for King Kohli
In another year dominated by India’s captain in all formats, Virat Kohli raced to become the fastest to reach the 10,000-run mark in ODIs, and also the quickest to 60 International centuries. He scored 1,202 runs @ 133.55 with six hundreds, and also became the first Asian captain to win Tests in South Africa, England and Australia.
7. Wrestling Queen Vinesh Phogat Scripts History
Vinesh Phogat became the first Indian wrestler to clinch an Asian Games gold in a year in which she also bagged the yellow metal at the Gold Coast CWG. The 24-year-old capped off a successful year on the mat by tying the knot with former grappler Somvir Rathi in Haryana.
8. Come, Support Us: Chhetri’s Plea to India
Captain Sunil Chhetri made an impassioned appeal to fans to come out and support the Indian football team ahead of their Intercontinental match against Kenya, which also happened to be his 100th international game. The video of the football star went viral, and led to other stars like Virat Kohli coming out in support. The stadium for the Kenya match was eventually sold out, and India went on to lift the Intercontinental Cup.
9. Harmanpreet Kaur’s World T20 Heroics
Captain Harmanpreet Kaur smashed the first T20I century by an Indian woman with a 103 against New Zealand in the World T20. India cruised into their first semi-final of the tournament in eight years, but were knocked out after a controversial 8-wicket loss to England; a loss in which the captain was criticised for leaving out Mithali Raj from the playing eleven.
10. Hima Das’ Historic Gold
While no one was watching, 18-year-old Indian runner Hima Das sprinted to a historic gold at the IAAF World U20 Championship. She became the first-ever Indian woman to win an athletics gold on the international stage. The Assamese sprint star made India proud, and everyone from the President to Bollywood celebrities hailed her feat.
11. Two for Tokyo 2020?
2018 saw the emergence of India’s medal prospects for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. With boxer Amit Panghal, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and wrestler Vinesh Phogat winning gold at the Asian Games, India looks ready to put up a winning fight. If they continue their progress at the same pace, and if all goes well, they’re capable of shining at the Olympics.
12. Athletics Contingent’s Asiad High
At the Asian Games, India finished with a record 19 medals in athletics this year. This marked our best show at the event since 1951. We won twin medals in the men and women’s 4X400 relays. The haul included seven golds, 10 silvers and two bronze medals.