India has witnessed golden moments in the sporting arena over the last seven decades since independence.The Indians were the powerhouse of world hockey in the 50’s to the early 80s maintaining their hegemony at Olympics. Kapil Dev led Indian team's 1983 World Cup win at Lord's made cricket India’s most popular sport.
The 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 World Cup titles in cricket shall be etched in the memory of Indian sports lovers forever. India produced some chess grandmasters like Viswanathan Anand, ace cueists like Geet Sethi and Pankaj Advani and tennis champs like Leander Paes and Sania Mirza who went onto become world champions in their respective sport. The rise of badminton, boxing and shooting have made India stand tall among the best sporting nations of the world.
So on the verge of our 71st Independence Day, let us have a look at some sportsmen who are destined be the future stars of Indian sports
After India’s queen of sprints PT Usha, there have been a couple of sprinters who promised to take over her mantle but none went onto prove their pedigree at the world stage. National 100 meters champion Dutee Chand seems to be the heir apparent to PT Usha. Chand has showcased her sprinting prowess at world athletic meets in the recent times.Dutee has brought back laurels to the country by winning medals at the Asian Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games.
Dutee became only the third Indian women to qualify for the Olympics She announced herself on the international stage by winning a bronze at the 2013 Asian Athletic Championships in Pune. Dutee impressed with a stellar performance at the recently concluded Asian Athletics Championships at Bhubaneswar. She bagged a bronze in her pet 100 m event and then combined with the Indian relay team to win gold in the 4*100 relay.
Kidambi Srikanth is arguably India’s best male badminton player among the current crop. Srikanth who was hailed as a giant killer has made rapid strides to establish himself as one of the best in the world. The lanky shuttler shot into prominence by stunning Chinese great Lin Dan in the 2014 China Open Super Series. Srikanth then went onto win the India Open in 2015. He has been superb in 2017 reaching three consecutive Super Series finals.
He clinched the Indonesia Open and Australian Open Super Series titles besides ending up as runner up to B. Sai Praneeth in the Singapore Open. Srikanth has the game to beat the best on his day and he has showcased forging impressive wins against Lin Dan and Chen Long Srikanth shall be one of India’s medal prospects in the next Olympics. He could be India’s first male shuttler to win an Olympic medal in badminton.
Indian cricket has been held in good stead over the last two decades courtesy some masters with the willow and some great exponents with the red cherry. However, if there were one missing link in their team’s jigsaw puzzle it would certainly be that of a quality seam allrounder. Ever since the legendary Kapil Dev bid farewell from the sport, India has been long yearning for an apt replacement.The likes of Manoj Prabhakar, Robin Singh and Irfan Pathan all shined but only for a short while.It now seems that Hardik Pandya has the credentials of being the next big allrounder.Pandya has established himself as a destructive finisher down the order and a handy medium pace bowler who seams the ball to great effect. From churning out impressive performance for Mumbai Indians in the IPL and the Men In Blue in ODIs, the Baroda lad has been deservingly handed a Test Cap. It would be interesting to see how Pandya fares in the longer format of the game to cement his place as a genuine allrounder.
Talk about Indian golf and names like Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa, Arjun Atwal, SSP Chowrasia, Anirban Lahiri come to your mind. So for a long time, Indian golf was all about their men taking center stage on the golfing greens.
However, all that has changed with the rise of Aditi Ashok, India's first female golfing superstar. Aditi has made Indian women’s golf noticeable in the international arena. She became the first Indian to win a European Tour Title after lifting the Hero Women’s Indian Open title. She followed it up with a second win two weeks later at the Qatar Ladies Open and finished the season second on the Order of Merit. Aditi has the unique distinction of being the only Indian golfer who played the Asian Youth Games (2013), Youth Olympic Games (2014), Asian Games (2014) and Olympic Games (2016).