Today, as we celebrate India’s 70th Independence Day, here is a simple exercise for you. Close your eyes and think of a moment where you felt the most ‘Indian’. For most of us, who don’t need to assert our nationality for survival like the men guarding the borders do, patriotism comes in bouts. Many of us feel most Indian when we are supporting the Indian cricket team in a crucial match. 

Indeed, India’s achievements in the field of cricket is well known, but similar and even bigger achievements have been raked up by Indian teams and individuals in various other sports. 

While what falls under the category of the greatest sporting achievements is a subjective matter, the idea is to highlight the achievements from the seven decades which not only brought laurels to the nation, but also lifted the spirit of the citizens. 

Here are the seven greatest sporting achievements from seven decades of freedom


KD Jadhav wins bronze at 1952 Olympics

India’s first individual Olympic medal came at Helsinki 1952 Games. KD Jadhav won a bronze in wrestling.

Other major achievements

First Olympic hockey gold after independence

Indian hockey team won their first gold at the Games in 1928, but the first hockey gold after independence came in 1948 Olympics.


India wins 1962 Asian Games football gold

The magnificent triumph came during the golden period of Indian football. India defeated Korea 2-1 in Jakarta.

Other major achievements

Ramanathan Krishnan reaches Wimbledon last four

Ramanathan Krishnan is the only Indian till date to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon. 

Milkha Singh misses bronze by 0.1 seconds

Milkha Singh was leading the 400m final, but eventually missed out on bronze by 0.1 seconds. Singh also won medals in the 1958 and 1962 Asian Games.


India win the 1975 Hockey World Cup

India beat arch-rival Pakistan in the final of the tournament staged in Malaysia to lift their first World Cup. 


India wins the 1983 Cricket World Cup

India defeated mighty West Indies to win their maiden World Cup. The victory transformed the game and it’s following in India forever. 

Other major achievements

Prakash Padukone wins the All England Open

The 1980 All England Open win was India’s greatest badminton achievement at the international stage.

PT Usha’s win at Asian Games

PT Usha won five medal including four gold and one silver in the track and field events at the 1986 Asian Games. A watershed moment for female athletes in India. 


Leander Paes wins men’s singles tennis bronze in Atlanta

Leander Paes secured bronze for India at 1996 Atlanta Olympics by reaching the semi-final. The veteran lost to Andre Agassi. The medal broke the 44-year India’s wait for an individual Olympic medal. 


Viswanathan Anand becomes undisputed World Chess Champion

In 2007, Viswanathan Anand became the world champion of a sport which is generally dominated by Russians. Anand held the title till 2013, defending his title three times during that period. 

Other major achievements

Anju Bobby George wins medal at World Athletics Championships

Anju Bobby George became the first Indian to win a medal at World Athletics Championships after she clinched the bronze in long jump in the 2003 edition.

India win the 2007 World T20

Indian cricket team lead by MS Dhoni defeated rivals Pakistan to lift the inaugural World T20 title in 2007. 


Abhinav Bindra wins India’s first individual Olympic gold in Beijing

Arguably the greatest sporting success of India. Ace shooter Abhinav Bindra cliched gold in the 10m air rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics to win India’s first individual Olympic gold medal.

India win the 2011 Cricket World Cup

MS Dhoni-led side brought an end to the 28-year-old wait in 2011 after they won the cricket World Cup. 

Sushil Kumar wins his second Olympic medal

After winning bronze in 2008, Sushil Kumar clinched silver at the 2012 London Olympics. The achievement made him the first/only Indian athlete to win two individual Olympic medals. 

Feature image: Reuters