There is nothing more beautiful that Sports – the unscripted drama, the passion, and the thrill! That is exactly why people say movie makers can only dream of writing a climax scene quite like sports. And some of those sports stories are simply incredible. Especially in India, where sports stars are born in adverse situations, reading about such inspiring stories definitely changes one’s attitude towards life. Here are 10 such sports stories :
10India’s first Gold Medallist at the Paralympics
As far as the sports stories go, it doesn’t get any better than this. Murlikant Petkar became the first Indian to win the Gold medal at the Paralympics, at the 1972 Heidelberg Games. He won the gold in 50m freestyle swimming, setting the world record in the process. But wait till you read the back story!
Murlikant was in the Indian Army where he served as a Subedar. During the 1965 Indo-Pak war, he took nine bullets, one of them is still in his backbone. Murlikant was paralyzed from below the waist, was bedridden for almost two years and even lost his memory for some time.
But that was hardly an end for the brave man. In fact, it was a new start. Murlikant turned to sports after his recovery and won the historic gold in 1972. And if gold in swimming wasn’t enough, he was also the finalist in javelin, precision javelin throw and slalom at Heidelberg.
9Khashaba Jadhav’s struggle
We all know Khashaba Jadhav as India’s first ever individual Olympic medallist. The wrestler won the bronze medal at the 1952 Olympic Games and created history. But he had to struggle not only at the Olympics but also before.
Jadhav, 5.5 ft. tall, defeated India’s flyweight champion, Niranjan Das of Bengal, over 6 ft. tall twice in a bout in Lucknow in 1952. But thanks to the dirty politics, the Maharashtrian wrestler was still not named in the 1952 Olympic squad. He defeated Das once again to finally book his ticket to Helsinki.
But that was not all. Jadhav did not have enough money for the trip. His fellow villagers helped him and collected the required ₹ 8,000. Not only that, but they also helped him get a formal dress for the Olympic Opening ceremony.
And Khashaba Jadhav paid the dues with a bronze medal. Which could have been a gold or at least a silver, if Jadhav didn’t have to fight two bouts in less than an hour.
8Leander Paes at 1996 Olympics
India had to wait 44 years for another individual Olympic medal after Khashaba Jadhav’s bronze in 1952. The 22-year old Leander Paes won the bronze medal in men’s singles tennis at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
And Leander’s story was just as exceptional as Khashaba Jadhav. The youngster was a wild card entrant at the Olympics and the fact that he went on to win the medal from there, is simply incredible.
What makes Leander Paes’s story even more inspirational is his bronze medal match. After losing the semi-final against the eventual gold medallist, Andre Agassi, Paes was up against Fernando Meligeni of Brazil with a with a 60% torn wrist tendon. The Indian was heavily bandaged and after losing the first set, the chances of his medal were very slim.
But Paes fought back, and won the next two sets 6-3, 6-2 to win the bronze medal – India’s first individual medal since 1952 and the only medal in Tennis to this date!
7Swapna Barman’s Heptathlon Gold Medal at the Asian Games
The story of Swapna Barman’s Gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Heptathlon is series of triumphs against all odds. Already struggling because of lack of customized shoes to fit-in her 6 toed feet, Swapna was in immense pain due to a tooth infection after a root canal which also resulted in a swollen jaw.
Despite all the difficulties, Swapna not only participated in the demanding competition, which consists of seven events but also became the first Indian to clinch a gold medal in Heptathlon. She scored 6,026 points and became only the fifth women to cross 6,000.
6Sunil Chhetri’s Appeal to Fans
This is nothing but a small plea from me to you. Take out a little time and give me a listen. pic.twitter.com/fcOA3qPH8i
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) June 2, 2018
Let’s face it, the condition of Indian football has hardly improved despite a number of campaigns and initiatives. During the Intercontinental Cup in 2018, some 2000 people turned up for India’s match at Mumbai’s Football arena, which has the capacity of 10,500.
And Sunil Chhetri, who has given everything for the Indian team throughout his career, shared a small video on social media. The captain asked the fans to just support the team during the game. And it worked wonders!
In the next game, which was also Chhetri’s 100th cap, 8890 people attended the game and they were absolutely buzzing throughout India’s 3-0 win against Kenya.
5The T20 World Cup Miracle in 2007
The 2007 World Cup in the West Indies was an absolute disaster for the Indian Cricket team. The Men in Blue were knocked out of the tournament in the group stages, courtesy defeats to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The fans were furious. They pelted stones at players’ houses, burned posters, and whatnot. So no one was really interested in the T20 World Cup just a few months after this tragedy.
Senior players like Sachin, Dravid, and Ganguly pulled out of the tournament even before it started. Young and inexperienced MS Dhoni was named the captain of a young team which had hardly had any experience of playing the new format.
But against all odds, MS Dhoni’s men won the inaugural T20 World Cup, beating Pakistan in an intense final. The tournament not only gave India a new leader for the next generation but also introduced the nation to T20 Cricket, which became the bread and butter of many in years to come.
4The story of Arpinder Singh’s father’s sacrifice
Arpinder Singh, the Commonwealth Bronze medallist and the Asian Games Gold medallist in the triple jump event, had a difficult childhood, to say the least.
Arpinder’s father, Jagbir Singh was a hawaladar in the Indian Army who retired in 1990. Due to financial troubles, Jagbir mortgaged one-and-a-half acre land to fund his son’s training. In a country where parents prioritize studies over sports, it was a remarkable thing to do.
At one point, Jagbir’s debts went up to 5 lakh and even daily meals became difficult. But it was all worth it as Arpinder continued his training and eventually won the bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. And it was only after that medal when Jagbir freed up his land.
Arpinder continued to shine and pay off his father’s dues with a Gold Medal at the 2018 Asian Games.
3Dhoni’s Biggest Fan
Captain cool, @msdhoni humble ?
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 4, 2019
An 87-year old fan of the Indian Cricket team recently became an internet sensation with her passion for Cricket. India’s captain and vice-captain even met her after the game against Bangladesh.
But that was not the first time we have seen something like that in this Cricket crazy country. A few months ago, during the IPL, yet another senior citizen watched the MI vs CSK game at the Wankhede with a placard in her hand which read, “I am here only for Dhoni”.
And she waited after the game to meet the great man. And Dhoni, despite suffering a defeat in the game, came down to greet the special fan and signed a jersey for her. If this isn’t one of the most beautiful moments in sports, what is?
2Tribute to Mothers
Mothers play a crucial role in any sports star’s success. Their sacrifice is what helps the athletes to achieve great heights. And the Indian cricket team thanked all the mothers in one of the most heart touching moment ever.
In the 5th ODI against New Zealand at Visakhapatnam in 2016, the jerseys of Indian players had names of their mothers printed at the back. Usually, players wear a jersey with their family name.
“What’s important is that it’s an initiative to appreciate the contribution of the moms. It’s a very emotional connect and it’s good that it is put on a public platform.” Said Dhoni about this initiative.
It was beautiful and it was great to show gratitude towards the most important figure in our lives – Mother!
[custom-related-posts title=”Related Posts” none_text=”None found” order_by=”title” order=”ASC”]
1Age and adversities, what’s that?
Too often age is one thing which seems to hold an athlete back. But not for India’s first women Paralympic medallist Deepa Malik.
In 1999, Deepa was diagnosed with a spinal tumor, due to which she was diagnosed from the waist down. After managing a catering business, she turned to sports at the age of 36!
And she did not stop until winning the Paralympic medal at the Rio 2016. Deepa won the silver medal in Shot Put in Rio at the age of 46! Age, it is just a number!