Indian’s have a great record when it comes to winning medals at world championships. Not just cricketer’s, but athletes in various field have made us proud.
World Championships – Gaurav Bhiduri
Gaurav Bhiduri began boxing by practicing at his father’s boxing club in Delhi. His father was a national level boxer himself and wanted to represent India at the Olympics.
However, due to family issues, he could not continue his boxing career.
Bhiduri’s first maiden international competition was the World Junior Boxing Championships. He won his first medal at the 2012 President’s Cup in Dhaka. He continued to win medals as he won the bronze at the International Boxing Championship at Doha in 2015.
In 2017, Bhiduri made his debut at the World Boxing Championships in the bantamweight discipline. He won his opening match 5-0 before winning his second match 4-1. He won his quarter-final 3-0 but was thrashed by eventual runner-up Duke Ragan 5-0 in the semi-finals. Hence, he had to settle for the bronze. Bhiduri thus became only the second Indian boxer to win a medal on his World Championship debut.
World Championships – Sundar Singh Gurjar
Sundar Singh Gurjar plays three sports including javelin throw, shot put and discus throw. However, two years back, he lost his left hand in an accident which prevented him from playing any further at the general level.
However, he continued to compete in javelin throw in the para-sports level and created a world record at the National Para Athletics Championship in Panchkula with a distance of 68.42 m. At the Rio Paralympics, Gurjar was a top medal prospect for India but he failed to be present during the roll call. Hence, he was disqualified.
However, Gurjar finally had his moment at this year’s Para Athletic World Championships. He won the gold medal at the javelin throw event with a distance of 60.36 m.
World Championships – Anju Bobby George
It’s after a very long time that an athlete capable of winning medals at the international level has come up on the Indian sports horizon. And she is none other than Anju Bobby George. Anju jumped to fame by winning the bronze medal in long jump at the World Athletics Championships, 2003 in Paris.
With her bronze winning performance at the world athletics Championship 2003 in Paris, Anju Bobby George catapulted herself to fame and won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2004. Even before winning the bronze at the Paris meet, Anju had shown a lot of promise by winning the gold at the junior Asian Championship in1996. Although she started with Heptathlon, but later began to concentrate on her jump events and went on to win long jump medal at the junior Asian championship.
She also won the silver medal at the SAF games in Nepal. Anju became the first Indian woman to win a bronze medal clearing 6.49 m at the Commonwealth Games at Manchester 2002. She also won the gold medal at the Busan Asian Games. Anju received the prestigious Arjuna award (2003) for eminent sports persons from the government of India after her success in the World Athletic meet.
Anju has been consistently performing ever since her arrival on the athletic scenario of India. Her bronze winning effort at the World Athletics Championship 2003, Paris has been the zenith of her carrier. This win at the world championship coincided with the upcoming Athens Olympic Games and all the countrymen suddenly started nurturing the hope of a medal at the Olympic Games.
She was tipped to be one among the top three but that was not to be and the hopes of 100 million people were dashed to the ground. Although Anju could not win any medal at the Olympics but she tried hard and improved her own record.
World Championships – Mirabai Chanu
Hailing from Northeast, Mirabai Chanu is from the new breed of sportspersons from the tiny state of Manipur. The state by the way has a population of less than three million.
Young protégée Chanu has long been billed as Indian weightlifting’s next superstar. Inspired by her idol Kunjarani Devi, she started engaging in the sport and lifting weights soon after the Athens Olympics. When she started out, bamboo canes were used for the first six months, before she moved onto an iron bar.
At the age of 11, displaying some impressive performance she had already become the under-15 national champion. At 17, the young Manipuri was the junior champion and subsequently earned her the national team call-up. Mirabai Chanu was then coached by her idol, Kunjarani.
In 2016, she broke Kunjarani’s snatch national record, set in 2004, and equaled the total lift record of 190 kg to win the Asian Championship. The amazing performance, which was just 2 kg shy of the Olympic silver-medal mark, put her in the national limelight.
Reflecting on her story so far Chanu says, “Those performances weren’t satisfying for me. Like Kunjarani Devi, I too wanted to perform in the Olympics.” Her coach, Vijay Sharma, said she began lifting 190-plus totals routinely during training that made her a strong contender for the medal at the Rio Olympics. However, she froze on the biggest stage of all.
However, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu made the nation proud by lifting a whopping 194 kg to win her first and India’s third ever gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championship. Two decades ago former Olympic bronze medallist Karnam Malleswari had bagged the gold for India in 1994 and 1995.