Game On: Redefining Indian Sports in 2023
With outstanding performances of athletes throughout the year, Indian sports have risen to new heights, establishing new norms and attracting worldwide attention. Let us take a look at the year that it was.
2023 was a year in which the definition of success was redefined, and it included a lot of firsts for Indians. If you will, it was a year of expressing our passion for sports too.
ThisDay would want to take you on a nostalgic voyage through this year when we had both triumphs and losses, but most significantly, the constant desire for perfection being displayed in the domain of athletics is how we wish to remember this year. It was a year of many firsts where Indian athletes would not have had a chance of taking that position in the past, and we felt prouder when our athletes ascended the podiums with our national flags flying high. So yes, it's been a year full of spectacular athletic achievements in India that we look forward to reminiscing about together.
As we progress further, would you believe if we tell you that it was for the first time since our journey began in the Asian Games, that India could break the 100 medals ceiling, wherein India bagged 28 gold medals, 38 silver, and 41 bronze?
To top it all off, we can't stop thinking about that moment as well, when Virat Kohli hit his 50th ODI century on home soil, breaking two-decade-old Sachin Tendulkar's global record. Every cricket fan would agree with this, that something was special about this day!
Icing on the top was the performance of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty who became the 1st Indian doubles pair in history to take the world No. 1 spot in the badminton rankings.
Then we even had our favorite athletic moment when Neeraj Chopra entered the 2023 World Championships in Budapest to win gold. If that wasn't enough, he later crowned himself with gold in the Hangzhou Asian Games as well. There’s nothing this boy can't do and at an age like his, we are sure that the future is gold.
However if age really matters, then let’s talk about the chess grandmaster who is just 18 years old. Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, as named, made sure that he reached the FIDE World Cup Finals and although he ended up losing the game, nothing can beat the fact that he is the youngest ever player to have reached the title clash of the prestigious tournament.
We did mourn the loss in the ODI World Cup finals as India batted against Australia but then there was a lot that we took from this year’s World Cup series. The first highlight had to be the country itself, for being the first-time independent host of the event for this year. Before this, India co-hosted the World Cup with Pakistan in 1990’s. Moreover, the Indian team led by Rohit Sharma maintained its stronghold and secured the top spot in all formats.
Just saying, but India knows how to play with strength and our Indian women’s blind cricket team made history by securing gold at the IBSA World Games, displaying exceptional resilience and performance against Australia in a rain-affected match. Moreover, having defeated Australia in a women's test for the first time, India followed that up with an eight-wicket victory against England which promises their continued success in the women’s game.
Among the other Asian Games highlights were Parul Chaudhary's triumph in the women's 5000m with an incredible finish and Annu Rani's win in the women's javelin throw, despite struggling for form most of the season.
It was also a year of many significant initiatives by the government in supporting and promoting traditional sports in the country. The inaugural of Women's Pro Kabaddi League (WPKL) kicked off in February and showcased the talent of female athletes. By March, We had Khelo India Para Games, the first of its kind that provided a crucial platform for para-athletes and highlighted the need for greater inclusivity in traditional sports. Later, the International Kho Kho Federation was formed, paving the way for international recognition and potential inclusion in global sporting events. For Schools in Delhi and Rajasthan, Gilli-Danda was incorporated into their physical education curriculum, promoting the game among younger generations.
Throughout the Asian Games and several world championships, India has established itself as a major force on the world stage which marks a significant paradigm shift in Indian sports. For 2024, we are surely excited to cheer for those on the field. Let the Games Begin!
I mean, Olympics 2024 in Paris!!!