SHIVANSH GUPTA GUPTA
As an aspiring sports journalist, my dream is to bring the unsung and the forgotten heroes of Indian sports into limelight and celebrate their success together with the country.
The month of July 2017 will go down in the books as one of the glorious and one of the most successful periods in the history of Indian sports. From cue to racquet sports, to the Special Olympics and obscure events, our sports stars stamped their authority in grand fashion at various international tournaments. We earned laurels in 11 different tournaments last month. And most of it was done under the radar.
We are not Demigods. We are not Cricketers. We are the Asian Tea Snooker Champions 2017. What a feeling.
These were the words of India’s leading cueist Pankaj Advani after he, along with his partner Laxman Rawat, handed Pakistan a 3-0 drubbing in the final of the Asian Team Snooker Championship. India pounced on the glorious chance and completed a whitewash as Advani and Rawat cleared the frame in the doubles tie after winning their concerned singles ties against Mohammad Bilal and Babar Masih respectively. This was Advani’s second Asian title this season while it was Rawat’s first. Besides Advani and Rawat, the Indian team comprised of Malkeet Singh with Ashok Shandilya as coach. It was a great start to the month.
Even when it came to working on short notice to organise a major sporting event, the Odisha State Government took up the challenge. The results they produced exceeded all expectations.
Posted by Sports Possible on Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Asian Athletics Championships found a new home this year, as the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha hosted the prestigious event from 6th July to 10th July. Before we look at the final medal and analyze India’s performance, it is only befitting to start by appreciating the effort put in by the Odisha state government to set up a world class facility in just 90 days.
700 athletes from 45 countries participated in the 4-day long event. 95 Indian athletes represented the Indian contingent. India scripted history with their best-ever performance as the contingent topped the medal tally with 29 medals. The victory comprised of 12 Gold medals, 5 silver medals, and 12 bronze medals. Here’s how the medal tally looked like:
In Javelin Throw Neeraj Chopra set a new Championship record with a throw of 85.23M. Moreover, in Heptathlon, Swapna Barman established a new personal best with 5942 points.
The Indian athletes didn’t let the effort of the Odisha State government go in vain as they thanked them in the best way possible. The contingent announced their arrival on the international platform with a thumping victory and the future looks bright from here on.
Indian Men’s and Women’s team did the nation proud after both the teams clinched a Bronze medal at the Internationaux de France tournament that was held in Strasbourg, France. This, by far, was the most successful Sepaktakraw tournament as far as India is concerned.
Unknown to the majority of the country’s population, India plays Sepaktakraw. It is a traditional Malaysian sport and is popular in Southeast Asian countries. It was introduced to India in 1980 when a group of sports enthusiasts in Nagpur obtained printed materials and photographs from the Sepak Takraw Federation of Malaysia with Shri Tajuddin Ahmed as the general secretary.It involves players kicking a volleyball, allowing them to use only their feet, knee, head, and chest to touch and maneuver the ball.
India’s notable achievements in this sports include a Bronze in the 2013 World Super Series that was hosted by India and a Silver in the 2015 French Open.
The Olympic Stadium in London hosted the 2017 World Para-Athletics Championship from 14th to 23rd July. As expected, our Para-athletes continued their good form and brought their A-Game to the tournament. For India, the event was one to remember as it culminated in its highest ever tally at a Para Athletics World Championship.
The Indian contingent finished 34th with a total tally of 5 medals ( 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze). India bettered their own performance from the previous two editions where they had won 2 Silvers in 2015 and just 1 Gold in 2013, respectively.
Sundar Singh Gurjar won the solitary gold for India in the men’s Javelin Throw F-46 event and created a new world record with an effort of 60.86M. Amit Kumar Saroha and Sharad Kumar Singh brought home a Silver medal each. Saroha sealed one in the men’s club throw F-51 category with a score of 30.25m. On the other hand, Sharad clinched the other one in the men’s high jump T-42 category by setting a new personal best, courtesy a 1.84M jump.
Karamjyoti Dalal clinched a Bronze medal in the women’s Discus Throw event, where the 29-year-old para-athlete recorded a best effort of 19.02M. True to his potential, Varun Singh Bhati didn’t disappoint the nation as he clinched a Bronze in the men’s High Jump T-42 category.
The Indian Para-athletes, time and again, prove that “Where there is a will, there’s a way” proverb right by putting their disability behind them to bring laurels for their country. The least we can do for them is to appreciate their achievements, especially on a stage as big as the world championship.
England and Wales together hosted the 11th edition of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup from the 24th of June to the 23rd of July. The women in blue were led by the all time skipper Mithali Raj, who is now the all-time highest run getter in women’s ODI cricket. India finished as the runners-up after losing to England by 9 runs in a nail biting finish.
India kick-started the tournament in an ideal way by winning 4 matches on the trot. They defeated the host and eventual champions England, West Indies, arch rivals Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They had a couple of hiccups when they lost two consecutive matches to South Africa and Australia. However, to most people’s surprise, India bounced back hard in the next two games as they beat New Zealand and then Australia in the semi finals.
Smriti Mandhana, Ekta Bisht, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj produced some exceptional performances to help India finish as the 2nd best team in the world. Our women may not have won the cup, but they have surely left us with memories that will be cherished forever and have also proved that women’s cricket is not something to be ignored.
The 2017 Summer Deaflympics, officially known as the 23rd Summer Deaflympics, is an international multi-sport event that took place in Samsun, Turkey from July 18 to July 30, 2017. 3,148 athletes from 97 countries competed in 21 sports.
Even here, our 46 specially-abled athletes left no stone unturned in giving their best shot. The Indian contingent won 5 medals at the tournament. This has been their best performance at the Deaflympics.
Wrestler Virender Singh bagged a Gold in the 74 kg Freestyle event while fellow wrestlers Sumit Dahiya and Ajay Kumar found the podium with bronze medals in 65kg freestyle and 97 kg Freestyle categories respectively. 16-year old Diksha Dagar clinched a silver in Golf while India’s fifth medal came in mixed doubles tennis courtesy Prithvi Sekhar and Jafreen Shaik.
The town of Usti Nad Labem in the Czech Republic hosted the 48th Boxing Grand Prix where our boxers did the nation proud by clinching a total of 8 medals. The tournament saw Shiva Thapa (60 kg), Amit Phangal (52 kg), former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (69 kg), Satish Kumar (+91 kg) and Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg) claim gold medals after their respective clashes.
On the other hand, Manish Panwar (81 kg) and Kavinder Bisht (52 kg) bagged silver medals, while Sumit Sangwan (91 kg) claimed bronze after losing in the semifinals.
One of the striking features of this tournament was that Phangal, despite being a 49 Kg boxer, put up a fight against Bisht who was a category above, standing at 52 Kg.
The Bahamas hosted the 6th edition of the Youth Commonwealth Games from 18th July to 23rd July and just like other tournaments in July 2017, India’s performance was no different. India finished 7th with a total of 11 medals in 3 sports. Here’s how India’s medal tally looked like:
Indian shuttlers had a successful month. On 24th July, HS Prannoy defeated Parupalli Kashyap 21-15, 20-22, 21-12 to win the Yonex US Open Grand Prix Gold. For the third time this year, international Badminton tournaments have seen All-India finals which mark the progress the country has achieved in the game. This is HS Prannoy’s third Grand Prix Gold win and he is the first Indian to win the Yonex US Open title.
Fast forward a week later to 31st July, Indian shuttlers had yet another successful outing in Nigeria. Indian shuttler C Rahul Yadav and the men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy clinched the men’s singles and men’s doubles title respectively at Lagos International Challenge in Nigeria. Fourth-seeded Rahul surpassed compatriot Karan Rajan Rajarajan 21-15 21-13 in the summit clash to lay claim to the title.
19-year-old Rahul Yadav Chittabonia, who had won the Mauritius Open last year, stunned top-seed and The World No. 55 Misha Zilberman in the semifinals. A shuttler from Gopi Chand Academy, Rahul had recently won the bronze medal in the Russain Open Grand Prix. In the doubles summit clash, top-seeds Manu and Sumeeth, who played at the Rio Olympics, defeated a local pair of Godwin Olofua and Anouluwapo Juwon Opeyori 21-13 21-15. In women’s singles, India’s Mugdho Agrey finished as runners-up after losing 12-21 14-21 to Sri Lanka’s Thilini Pramodika Hendahewa in the finals.
Indian Women’s basketball team gave Indian basketball a new life and a country of 1.25 billion a new reason to celebrate after clinching the 2017 FIBA Division B Asia Cup Crown in front of the home crowd.
Emphatic performances by Shireen Limaye, Grima Merlin Varghese, and Anitha Paul Durai were the high point of India’s run at the tournament. The victory was made even sweeter by the fact that it was achieved in front of a home crowd and it earned India direct promotion to the top tier league of Women’s Basketball.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the month of July was a stellar time for Indian athletes and sportsmen. For a cricket frenzy country to win big on various international stages in such a short span of time, speaks volumes about the character, self-belief, and determination showcased by our sports stars. This, hopefully, is the start of a long purple patch and with growing support, India’s dominance in numerous sports is bound to become inevitable. In a few year’s time, India will definitely become a force to reckon with.
Maybe, a few years down the line, it will not be necessary to describe India as a “cricket frenzied country” anymore.
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