Rising power in wrestling

Medal winners...(from left) Sandeep Tulsi Yadav (bronze in Greco Roman), Bajrang and Amit Kumar (bronze and silver respectively in freestyle) in the Senior World Wrestling championship in Budapest.-Medal winners...(from left) Sandeep Tulsi Yadav (bronze in Greco Roman), Bajrang and Amit Kumar (bronze and silver respectively in freestyle) in the Senior World Wrestling championship in Budapest.

After Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt scripted history by claiming two medals in the 2012 Olympics, the next generation of grapplers showed they were not far behind. Y. B. Sarangi analyses India’s performance in other major sports in 2013.

Three world championship medals in wrestling was a never before occurrence in the history of the sport in India and it was one of high points in 2013.

After Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt scripted history by claiming two medals in the 2012 Olympics, the next generation of grapplers showed they were not far behind.

Teenager and Olympian Amit Kumar (55kg, silver) and Bajrang (60kg, bronze) in freestyle and Sandeep Yadav (66kg, bronze) in Greco Roman underscored India’s stature as a rising power in the World championship in Budapest.

Indian wrestlers also made the country proud by garnering nine medals, including five by women, in the prestigious Asian championship held in Delhi. For the first time in the event’s 34-year history, India won the freestyle team title, with two gold and two bronze medals.

The international wrestling fraternity went through a very anxious and hectic year as the sport narrowly escaped the 2020 Olympic axe.

Top woman archer Deepika Kumari cornered glory in some elite events.-SANDEEP SAXENA

Boxing: The Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) continued to remain suspended by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) because of its infighting and administrative mess. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspending the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was the other reason behind the IBF’s ignominious status.

The Indian boxers, however, continued to shine despite all the distractions and limited international exposure. Four Indian pugilists — Devendro Singh (49kg, silver), Shiva Thapa (56kg, gold), Manoj Kumar (64kg, bronze) and Mandeep Jangra (69kg, silver) — fought exceptionally well to land medals in the tough biennial Continental championship held in Amman, Jordan.

In the World championship in Almaty, Kazakhstan, five Indians — Thapa (56kg), Vikash Malik (60kg), Manoj (64kg), Sumit Sangwan (81kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) — reached the quarterfinals for the first time, but missed medals by a narrow margin.

The World and Olympic medallist Vijender Singh getting entangled in a drugs controversy was a low point for the sport. However, nothing could be proved against the ace pugilist.

Athletics: India slightly improved its status in the Asian athletics championship held in Pune, winning two gold, six silver and nine bronze medals and finished a spot above its seventh place in Kobe (Japan) two years ago.

A day before the start of the championship, woman shot putter P. Udaya Laxmi tested positive for a banned substance and was subsequently withdrawn from the event, which was a matter of shame for the host country.

U.S.-based shot putter Vikas Gowda claimed a gold medal with a distance of 64.9m, his best on Indian soil, and the women’s quartet of Tintu Luka, Nirmala Sheoran, Anu Mariam and M. R. Poovamma clocked 3:32:26 to take the top honours in the women’s 4x400m relay.

Gowda finished seventh in the World championships in Moscow by hurling the discus to 64.03m.

Archery: Top woman archer Deepika Kumari cornered glory in some elite events. She bagged the silver in the World Cup Stage 1 in Shanghai and in the Final in Paris. She was part of the women’s team that beat Olympic medallists China and Korea to win World Cup golds in stages 3 and 4 respectively. The other members of the team were Rimil Buriuly and L. Bombayla Devi. Teaming up with Jayanta Talukdar, she bagged the mixed team silver in the World Cup Stage 1 and the gold in the Asian championship. Deepika, partnering Atanu Das, got a bronze in the World Cup Stage 3.

Aditya Mehta... first Indian to finish runner-up in a professional ranking snooker event, the Indian Open, in New Delhi.-SANDEEP SAXENA

Football: It was a big year for India as the country won the right to host the 2017 under-17 World Cup. The football fraternity hoped that the event would provide a boost to the sport in the country.

Pune FC making it to the AFC Champions League and East Bengal reaching the semifinals of the AFC Cup were two important highs for Indian football this year.

Snooker: It was a significant year as the country held its first ever professional snooker event, the Indian Open, in Delhi. Aditya Mehta, after his World Games gold medal winning feat, continued his good form to become the first Indian to finish runner-up in a professional ranking event. His nerve-wracking encounter with Pankaj Advani in the quarterfinals was a worthy effort.

Rupesh Shah lifted the Asian billiards title, edging past compatriot Alok Mehta in a keenly-contested final.

Squash: Saurav Ghosal achieved a new high when he became the first Indian to make it to the quarterfinals of the World squash championship in Manchester. He also reached his career best world ranking (18th).

Golf: Gaganjeet Bhullar started the year with a second place in the Avantha Masters, a European Tour event, and closed it with an Asian Tour title, the Indonesian Open.

Anirban Lahiri had a fabulous year in which he retained his SBI-SAIL Open crown and finished second in three other Asian Tour events. Shiv Kapur, who led briefly in his second British Open appearance, won two Challenge Tour events to earn his European Tour card.

Indian Open celebrated its golden jubilee with Bangladeshi golfer Siddikur Rahman emerging the champion.

Volleyball: India recorded a notable feat by entering the quarterfinals of the under-21 World volleyball championship in Ankara, Turkey, but lost to eventual champion Russia in the last-eight.