‘And it’s India!’
‘India has bagged the gold medal in the finals’.
Be it any sporting event, at the blow of the final whistle, every Indian hope to hear such announcements. The performance of our athletes, in the recent international sporting events, has made it evident that those hopes are n’t let down.
Our athletes didn’t let go of any opportunity to make the nation proud with their remarkable performances. While the experienced players bagged gold medals in top sporting events, the youngsters made their mark.
There were many memorable and record-breaking moments in several sports throughout the year. The notable ones in each of the months were-
January – Blind Cricket
The Indian national Blind men’s cricket team faced the most compelling rival of our nation, Pakistan, for the third time in the finals of the Blind Cricket World Cup and defeated them for the second time in a row in a thriller of a match to bag their second World Cup.
February – Cricket
Facing no failure throughout the World Cup tournament, the Indian men’s under 19 team succeeded to perform exceptionally in the finals too against the Australian U-19 team. Bowling first, India restricted the rivals to just 216 runs and chased it down in less than forty overs to lift the World Cup. India U-19 team is currently the most successful U-19 team with four World Cups.
March – Wrestling
The Asian Wrestling Championship 2018 was held in Kyrgyzstan. Though India managed to bag only eight medals (1-gold, 1-silver and 6-bronze), Navjot Kaur, a young athlete from Punjab, created history by becoming the first woman to have won a gold medal at the Asian Wrestling Championship.
April – Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games 2018 were conducted in the first two weeks of April. India recorded their second-best performance in their eighteen appearances at the Commonwealth Games earning sixty-six medals which included twenty-six gold medals, twenty silver and bronze medals and ended up at the third position in the points table. The team recorded their best performance in 2010 (101 medals) and stood 2nd in the points table.
May – Asian Junior Athletics Championship
Indian team topped the points table with 50 medals (20-gold, 22-silver and 8 bronze) in the South Asian Junior Athletics Championship which was held before the Asian Junior Athletics Championship (AJAC). The team performed well at the AJAC too and were ranked 3rd.
June – Football
The Intercontinental Cup 2018 was the biggest achievement of our national football team this year. It was a four-team association tournament hosted by our country. India stood top in the table facing only one failure and won the tournament by defeating Kenya (2-0) in the finals held in Mumbai. Scoring both of those goals himself, Sunil Chhetri, the captain then, moved to the second position in the list of active players with the most number of international goals. He jointly shares his position with Messi (65 goals) following Ronaldo (85 goals) on the top.
July – World Junior Championship
Hima Das, in the World Junior Championship 2018 held in Finland, won the gold medal in the 400 meters track event and became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal in a track event at the World Junior Championship. The 18-year-old sprint runner currently holds the national record in 400 meters.
August & September– Asian Games
India’s performance at the Asian Games 2018 was exceptional. With a total of sixty-nine points, India ended up at the 8th position in the points table.
Vinesh Phogat (wrestler), Neeraj Chopra (javelin thrower), Rahi Sarnobat (shooter) received gold medals. They were the first Indians to receive gold in their respective sports.
October – Asian Para Games
Having sent it’s largest ever contingent (190 athletes) to the Asian Para Games 2018, our nation succeeded in recording its best ever performance in the tournament. The team won seventy-two medals (gold-15, silver-24 and bronze-33) on the whole and were ranked 9th in the points table with 33 participants. Thirty-six of the seventy-two medals were won in the Para-Athletics.
India stood third in the 2018 International Boxing Association (AIBA) World Boxing Championship, held in the second and third weeks of November, with four medals (gold-1, silver-1 and bronze-2). Mary Kom won the only gold medal India received. She is the only female wrestler to have won six gold medals at the AIBA WBC.
December – Badminton
The ace badminton player PV Sindhu won her first gold medal at the Badminton World Federation World Tour 2018 after defeating Nozomi Okuhara of Japan and created history by becoming the only Indian player to win a BWF World Tour Finals. She previously won five silver medals in a few international tournaments.
Of all these, the biggest sporting successes we have had in 2018 was the Khelo India programme launched by the Central Government to support the young talent in our country by providing them great infrastructure and top-level training and also supporting them financially.
“The Khelo India programme has been introduced to revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in our country and establish India as a great sporting nation.”- Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.