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Leander Paes: The Athlete Who Broke India’s Olympic Medal Jinx

Leander Paes holds the record for most olympics appearances by any tennis player in the world.

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File photo of Leander Paes. (Photo: Reuters)

Leander Paes is arguably one of the best tennis players India has ever produced. Since the start, he was seen as a talent to watch out for and rightly so.

Paes won the junior Wimbledon, Junior US Open and also claimed the #1 spot in the world junior ranking in 1991. After that, he became a professional tennis player.

He teamed up with Ramesh Krishnan (who was 12 years older than him) for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. The duo had a good run in the tournament but were eliminated in the quarter finals.

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Year 1996: Paes Brings Home a Medal

Krishnan announced retirement from tennis in 1993. Hence, Paes decided to participate in the singles tournament of 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

India had not won an olympic medal since 1980 and an individual olympic medal since 1952. The medal drought was ended by Paes as he beat Brazil’s Fernando Ariel Meligeni.

This was India’s first individual medal in over four decades. Prior to Paes, KD Jadhav won a bronze way back in 1952. The match is considered to be one of the greatest match of Paes’ career, mostly because he played with a severely injured wrist.

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Leander Paes has participated in six consecutive olympics and holds the record for most olympics appearances by any tennis player in the world.

Rio 2016 will be his 7th olympic where he will participate in the doubles category with his partner Rohan Bopanna.

Video editor: Sashant Kumar

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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