On Saturday, July 24, Mirabai Chanu scripted history as she became the first Indian weightlifter to win a silver medal at the Olympic Games. She became the first Indian to win an Olympic medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games in the women's 49kg category.
Chanu, however, is the second Indian woman to win a medal for weightlifting at the Olympics. The first was Karnam Malleswari, who won a bronze at the 2000 Sydney Games. Chanu's victory ended a 21-year-old drought for a weightlifting medal at the Olympics for India.
Sumit Nagal Breaks Jinx
Along with Mirabai Chanu, tennis player Sumit Nagal scripted history by becoming the third Indian after Zeeshan Ali (Seoul 1988) and Leander Paes (Atlanta 1996) to win a men's singles match at an Olympics edition and the first in 25 years, when he edged past Denis Istomin in a three-setter at Tokyo.
Since 1996, India has been setting new records in the Olympic Games.
Leander Paes Ends Medal Drought
Since 1980, India had not won an Olympic medal and an individual Olympic medal since 1952. In 1996 though, tennis player Leander Paes broke the jinx and won a bronze medal at the Atlanta Olympics. In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, two-time World Championship gold medalist Karnam Malleswari won a bronze medal at the women's 69 kg weightlifting category. It was the first-ever Olympic medal won by an Indian woman.
In the 2004 Athens Olympics, shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won a silver medal in men's double trap shooting.
The Wait For Gold Ends
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, India set its standard even higher as Abhinav Bindra won a gold in the men's 10 metre air rifle event becoming the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games. Boxer Vijender Singh scripted history as he won the country's first medal in boxing with his bronze medal in the middleweight category.
London Brought Out The Best Of India
With a record of six medals, the 2012 London Olympics was India's best. Wrestler Sushil Kumar became the first Indian with multiple individual Olympic medals (bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and silver at the 2012 Summer Olympics) . Saina Nehwal won the bronze medal in badminton in women's singles getting India's first Olympic medal in badminton and Mary Kom became the first Indian woman to win a medal in boxing with her bronze medal finish in women's flyweight.
The One Where Our Women Excelled
In the 2016 Rio Olympics, Sakshi Malik became the first Indian woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal with her bronze medal finish in the Women's freestyle 58 kg category. PV Sindhu became the first Indian woman to win a silver medal in the Olympics and also the youngest Indian Olympic medalist.