India has seen so many world-renowned sportspersons over the decades, that it is more challenging than you may think to select the greatest of all time. But after whittling down the names, here is our choice of the five best sportspeople India has ever produced.
Mary Kom is the most famous female boxer from India, and with good reason. She is the only female boxer to win the World Amateur Boxing championship six times. Kom is also the only female boxer to win eight World Championship medals and qualify for the 2012 Olympics, where she won a bronze medal. Kom has become an inspiration to aspiring sportswomen throughout India. In 2014, Priyanka Chopra played Kom in the 2014 biographical Bollywood movie Mary Kom, which is based upon the boxer’s life.
Popularly known as The Flying Sikh, the former track and field sprinter Milkha Singh first got into athletics when he served in the Indian Army. He went on to become the only Indian athlete to win an individual gold medal at the Commonwealth Games until Krishna Poonia won a gold in 2010. But Singh also won gold medals at the Asian Games in both 1958 and 1962, and he represented India at three summer Olympics. In 2013, a movie based on Milkha Singh’s autobiography was released in India. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was widely acclaimed and won numerous awards in India, including the National Film Awards’ Most Popular Film, and five awards at the 2014 International Indian Film Academy Awards.
Sports betting has always been popular in India. But back in the 1960s, you would have to get odds and make bets with real-life bookmakers. Today, sports betting is made simple with online tools like the Casumo casino Sportsbook. You can choose from all types of sports to see what you want when you want it and keep track of all the in-play action with the click of a button.
Cricket is in Indian blood, and that does not just apply to men. Mithali Raj is regarded as the greatest ever Indian female batter, and it is easy to see why. Raj is the only female cricketer to surpass 6,000 runs in Women’s One Day International games, and she is the first to have scored seven consecutive-50s in ODIs. And in 2018, Raj became the first player from India, regardless of gender, to score 2000 runs in T20Is. Furthermore, Mithali Raj is the only player, either male or female, to have captained India in more than one final of the ICC ODI World Cup.
India has had more than its fair share of superstar cricketers over the year, and contending for the top spot is the current captain of the national team, Virat Kohli. The right-handed batsman is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the world, and he has a plethora of achievements and accolades to prove it. Kohli has been the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world since 2017, and he holds the records for the best ODI rating, at 911 points, the best Test rating, at 937 points, and the best T20I rating, with 897 points. In 2018, he was named as one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine. And in 2020, Forbes ranked him as the 66th highest-paid athlete on the planet, with estimated earnings of a whopping $26 million.
With so much focus on cricket in India, it can be easy to forget that hockey is the country’s national sport. Once upon a time, India dominated the international hockey circuit, and Dhyan Chand led the way. Chand won three Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932, and 1936. He is generally regarded as the greatest hockey player in the history of the sport, and his goal-scoring skills earned him the nicknames The Wizard and The Magician. His magic ball-control was simply unparalleled. Over the duration of his career, from 1926 to 1949, Chand scored 570 goals in 185 matches. On Chand’s birthday, 29 August, the day is celebrated throughout India as National Sports Day.