India is a country of diverse religion, culture, and tradition. Sports is no more just associated with games or physical activity rather it has become a nationwide sensation and inspiration. Being a sportsperson is not easy. These legendary sportspersons have not only made the country proud, but they have also lit a flame of hope in the hearts of many youngsters who wish to pursue their career in sports. These famous personalities have struggled their life to reach the top of the ladder. Nothing was served to them on a golden platter.
Let us throw some light on the 5 Legendary Sportspersons in India:
1. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar (Cricket)
Legends are not made in a day. Sachin Tendulkar, the former captain, and Indian cricketer is a famous batsman. He gained worldwide recognition as a result of his hard work, passion, and dedication. Born on 24 April 1973, he made his test debut against Pakistan on 15 November 1989 when he was just 16 years old. Popularly known as ‘Master Blaster’ this right-handed batsman is the only one who scored one hundred international centuries, a double century in one-day international and completed more than 30,000 runs in international cricket. He earned many feathers in his cap that include highest civilian awards Padma Shree, Padma Vibhushan, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna award. After taking retirement from twenty20 cricket format in October 2013, he decided to say goodbye to cricket. Tendulkar has been a part of many subjects. His autobiography ‘Playing it my way’ published by Hachette India was record breaking. Presently, everyone’s eyes are waiting for his upcoming Indian movie ‘Sachin: A billion dreams’ based on his life. He is truly legendary as he has inspired a great mass! His simplicity and constant perseverance made him the hero for many rising stars.
2. Milkha Singh (Athletic)
Milkha Singh, also known as the ‘Flying Sikh’, is the most famous Indian sprinter and one of the first sporting icons of the country. Singh was the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games. He won the top prize in the 400-metre competition in 1958. Singh was separated from his family and orphaned during the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. During his time, he had but little resources to support himself as a sportsman, which makes Singh’s achievements even more admirable. He is said to have become disillusioned with life and considered becoming a dacoit but joined the Indian Army instead and brought laurels for the country.
3. Dhyan ''Chand'' Singh (Hockey)
Dhyan Chand was an Indian field hockey player, widely regarded as the greatest player of all time. A legendary center-forward, he is remembered for his goal-scoring feats, first as a player and later as captain. Chand won 3 Olympic gold medals (1928 Amsterdam, 1932 Los Angeles, and 1936 Berlin). Even today, Dhyan Chand remains a legendary figure in Indian and world hockey. His astounding skills have been glorified in various apocryphal stories and anecdotes. A number such legends revolve around the fact that Singh had a magical control over dribbling the ball. August 29, Chand''s birthday, is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. The President gives away sport-related awards such as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award and Dronacharya Award on this day at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. India''s highest award for lifetime achievement in sports is the Dhyan Chand Award which has been awarded annually from 2002 to sporting figures who not only contribute through their performance but also contribute to the sport after their retirement. Dhyan Chand holds record for the most international goals, i.e. more than 1000.
4. Sania Mirza (Tennis)
She is ranked ‘1’ in women’s double in tennis. She is truly an inspiration for thousands and lakhs of Indian girls who dream of having a career in sports. Recently she brought home the 2015 Wimbledon championship trophy after defeating Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. She is an offensive baseliner and is one among the high-profile and high-paid athlete in India. She won Arjuna Award, Padma Shree, Padma Bhushan, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and got recognition as WTA newcomer of the year 2005. She married the Pakistani Cricketer Shoaib Malik in 2010. Mirza is appointed as the brand ambassador of Telangana state and she is the first South- Asian woman to be appointed as Goodwill ambassador for UN. She runs her own tennis academy in Hyderabad nurturing young talent
5. Pullela Gopichand (Badminton)
Gopichand is an Indian Badminton player.He won the All England Open Badminton Championships in 2001 defeating Chen Hong of China in the finals by 15-12,15-6. He became the second Indian to achieve this feat after Prakash Padukone, who won it in 1980. He was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for the year 2001. But later on, his game was affected due to injuries and his ranking dropped to 126 in the year 2003. In 2005, he was awarded the Padma Shri. He is now a very renowned coach who received the Dronacharya Award and is the main force behind the emergence of Saina Nehwal.
In the year 1996 he grabbed a Gold Medal in the SAARC Badminton Tournament held at Vijayawada, and repeated the victory in the same tournament held at Colombo in 1997. At the Commonwealth Games.In the year 2001, when he recreated the history by winning the prestigious 2001 All England Open Badminton Championships at London. He got Arjuna Award in the year 1999. Further in 2001, he was bestowed upon the highest Indian honour in the field of sports, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. In the year 2005, he was conferred the Padma Shri Award. He received the Dronacharya Award on 29 August 2009 for his contribution to Indian badminton as a coach.