Indian athletes may not have brought home many gold from the Olympics, but they have certainly made their presence known. Indians have excelled at these games, setting numerous Olympic records in a variety of events and holding the title of defending hockey champions for several decades. At the biggest and most prestigious sporting event in the world, the Olympics, these Indian Olympians have brought honour to their country. Let’s have a look at some of the most famous Indian Olympians of all time!

 

Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra
Image Source – DNA India

In his Olympic debut at the young age of 23, Neeraj Chopra made history by becoming the first track and field athlete from India to have won a gold medal. His Olympic performance in Tokyo in 2020 was remarkable and inspired many aspiring athletes. He is now ranked second in the world in athletics.

 

Major Dhyan Chand

Major Dhyan Chand
Image Source – The Indian Express

The Indian hockey squad was captained by Major Dhyan Chand, who guided his side to three straight Olympic gold medals. India was the defending hockey champion for seven more Olympic competitions thanks to his influence. Young athletes look up to him because of his superb ball control. In India, his birthday is recognised as National Sports Day. The highest athletic honour in India, the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, bears his name.

 

Abhinav Bindra

Abhinav Bindra
Image Source – Inc42

The Men’s 10m Air Rifle event at the Olympics saw Abhinav Bindra become the first Indian Olympian to win an individual gold medal. When the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing took place, he was only 26 years old and simultaneously held the world and Olympic titles. Through his foundation, he encourages and supports many young athletes and has a significant voice in the nation’s sports policy.

 

PV Sindhu

PV Sindhu
Image Source – The Bridge

PV Sindhu is the first Indian female athlete in history to take home medals in back-to-back Olympics. With her silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and her bronze medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she brought honour to the nation. She is the first badminton player from India to ever make it to the Olympic finals.

 

KD Jadhav

K D Jadhav
Image Source – OneIndia Hindi

KD Jadhav made Olympic history by becoming the first athlete from an independent India to do so. At the Olympics in Helsinki in 1952, he took home a bronze medal in wrestling. His accomplishments as a wrestler and a renowned Indian Olympian will live on for all time.

 

Leander Paes

Leander Paes
Image Source – The Bridge
The only tennis player to represent India in seven straight Olympic Games, from 1992 to 2016, Leander Paes is also the first Indian. In the men’s singles tennis competition at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996, he took home bronze medal. He is one of the most well-known Indian Olympians in history.

Karnam Malleswari

Karnam Malleswari
Image Source – Olympics

Not only is Karnam Malleswari the first woman to earn an Olympic medal, but she is also the first weightlifter from India to accomplish it. She became one of the most well-known Indian Olympians of all time after winning a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

 

Norman Pritchard

India's first Olympic medallist
Image Source – BBC

Norman Pritchard represented India at the 1900 Olympics held in Paris despite being a British citizen who was born in Calcutta during the time of British rule in India. When he won two silver medals in the 200m Hurdles and 200m Dash, he also made history by becoming the first Asian-born person to win an Olympic medal.

 

Sushil Kumar

Sushil Kumar
Image Source – DNA India

Sushil Kumar made everyone proud by winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which was 56 years after KD Jadhav’s Olympic medal triumph. In order to preserve his legacy, he went on to win the silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics. The current generation of Indian wrestlers has undoubtedly been motivated to achieve more and more by his triumphs.

There are other names too such as Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Vijender Singh, Vijay Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, Gagang Narang, Sakshi Malik, Mirabai Chanu, Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Bajrang Punia and Lovlina Borgohain who have represented India with pride on a global stage.

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