Independence Day: Tracking 75 glorious moments in Indian sports, Part 1

Tracking 75 glorious moments in Indian sports on the 75th Independence Day, here is part 1 comprising the top Olympic moments.

August 12, 1948: The triumph of the Indian hockey team, led by Kishan Lal with the likes of Balbir Singh Sr., Randhir Singh Gentle and Leslie Claudius in its ranks, in London in 1948 was a defining moment for the newly independent country. India won gold with a resounding 4-0 win over Great Britain in the final after it had emerged unscathed from the group stage with convincing wins over Austria, Argentina and Spain. It beat the Netherlands 2-1 in the semifinals.
July 24, 1952: India, with Balbir Singh Sr., Randhir Singh Gentle and Leslie Claudius forming the crux of the side, was seeded directly into the quarterfinals. It had to play only three matches before taking its place at the top of the podium in Helsinki. The side pitted against Austria initially, easily won 4-0, before taking out Great Britain 3-1 in the semis and the Netherlands 6-1 in the final.
July 23, 1952: Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav wrestled his way to the bronze medal in the freestyle (bantamweight, 57kg) category at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics as India rejoiced its first individual medal after Independence.
September 6, 1960: Milkha Singh missed an Olympic track and field medal at Rome in 1960 by one hundredth of a second. It was one of the most memorable quarter-mile races. The photo finish had to be employed for the first time in Olympic history to determine the winner.
October 23, 1964: The Indian reign in hockey at the Olympics had ended in Rome 1960 when it was knocked off the pedestal by Pakistan by a solitary goal in the final. But the Indians showed remarkable resilience to get back to the top in Tokyo 1964, defeating arch rival Pakistan in the gold medal match. Photo: The Hindu
July 29, 1980: With the Indian men taking on Spain for a shot at gold, M.K. Kaushik (42') made it 3-0 for the side, but Spain made a fine comeback through a flurry of penalty corners. Spanish star Amat (53', 54') scored two in succession, while Mohamed Shahid restored India's lead at 4-2. The Indians endured several nervous minutes at the end as Amat made it 4-3 in the 65th minute and Spain won five corners in succession. But the Indians managed to hold on and wild celebrations ensued as the final whistle went off.
August 8, 1984: P.T. Usha caught everyone's attention in 1984 — the year she missed the bronze medal by a whisker at the Olympics in Los Angeles. But that was the beginning of a journey that would inspire youngsters for decades to come.
August 3, 1996: Leander Paes’ singles bronze from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics was independent India’s second individual medal, ending a 44-year drought after K.D. Jadhav’s bronze (wrestling, Helsinki 1952). Paes beat a top-10 player in Thomas Enqvist, ruptured tendons in the wrist in the semifinal loss to Andre Agassi and fought back from a set down against Fernando Meligeni of Brazil in the playoff to bag the historic medal.
September 19, 2000: Karnam Malleswari made history as she claimed a bronze with a total of 240kg (snatch 110kg, clean and jerk 130kg). Malleswari not only became the first Indian woman to land a medal in the Games but remained the lone lifter from the country to have bagged an Olympic medal until Mirabai Chanu's silver at Tokyo 2020.
August 17, 2004: Major Rajyavardhan Rathore became India’s first ever individual silver medal winner at the Olympic Games. He finished second in the men’s double trap event in Athens. Within two years of his silver, India won its first World Shooting Championship titles in Zagreb 2006 - for Manavjit Singh Sandhu in trap shooting and Abhinav Bindra in the 10m air rifle.
August 11, 2008: Abhinav Bindra, who became a World champion in 2006 in Zagreb, beat defending champion Zhu Qinan in the 10m air rifle event for the gold in the Beijing Olympics in 2008. An unstable wooden flooring had robbed Bindra of a medal in Athens. However, he was not to be denied in Beijing.
August 22, 2008: Vijender Singh kept his cool and subdued Carlos Gongora of Ecuador 9-4 in the quarterfinals to assure India its first Olympic boxing medal, a bronze. Vijender had finished 17th at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
August 20, 2008: India won a bronze medal in wrestling for the second time after a gap of 56 years, as Sushil Kumar grappled his way through the 66kg class and took the third position. Four years later in London, Sushil became the first Indian to win two Olympic medals as he improved his Beijing bronze to silver in his weight category, losing to Japan’s Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu in the final. He achieved the feat on August 12, 2012.
August 11, 2012: Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt clinched the bronze medal in the men’s 60 kg freestyle category winning three rounds of repechage after losing to four-time world champion Besik Kudukhov of Russia in the pre-quarterfinals, at the ExCel Arena. He followed Sushil Kumar in winning the Olympic bronze medal. It was the third medal from wrestling for an Indian in the Olympics as K. D. Jadhav had won it in 1952.
August 3, 2012: Vijay Kumar won Olympic silver in the 25m rapid fire pistol event at the London Games. Kumar staved off world champion Alexei Klimov of Russia, the Chinese duo of Ding Feng and Zhang Jian and German Christian Reitz in the 40—shot final to finish runner—up in a thrilling finale behind Cuba’s Leuris Pupo, who shot his way to the gold with a world record-equalling score of 34.
August 4, 2012: With her bronze at the 2012 London Olympics, Saina Nehwal made history by becoming the first Indian shuttler to win a medal at the Games. After cruising past lower-rated players, the champion Indian shuttler ran into the more reputed, three-time All England champion Tine Baun in the quarterfinals and won in two straight games. Nehwal then ran into China’s formidable Wang Yihan in the semifinals, only to end up on the losing side. She then took on another Chinese player, Wang Xin, in the bronze-medal match, where she won the medal by default as her opponent conceded the match due to injury.
August 8, 2012: M.C. Mary Kom won the boxing bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. As women’s boxing made its debut at the London Games, Mary earned a podium finish in the 51kg weight category to become the first female boxer from India to land an Olympics medal.
July 30, 2012: Gagan Narang shot the bronze medal in men’s 10m air rifle at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London. Starting from third place with a qualification score of 598 out of 600, the 29-year-old displayed great character to deliver the third shooting medal for India in the Olympics after Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s silver in Athens 2004 and Abhinav Bindra’s gold in Beijing 2008.
August 17, 2016: Sakshi Malik won bronze in the 58kg category of women’s freestyle wrestling. Sakshi’s journey – from underdog to unexpected medallist – made her the first woman wrestler from the country to earn Olympic glory and provided a boost to female wrestling, which had so far been headlined by the Phogat sisters.
August 7, 2021: Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian to win an athletics gold medal at the Olympics by winning the men's javelin throw at Tokyo 2020 with a best throw of 87.58. Chopra is only the second Indian ever to win an individual gold -- shooter Abhinav Bindra won gold at the Beijing Games in 2008.
July 24, 2021: Mirabai Chanu won India's first medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after clinching silver in the women's 49 kg event. India's only previous medal in weightlifting was won by Karnam Malleswari, a bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
August 5, 2021: Ravi Kumar Dahiya won the silver medal after losing 7-4 to World champion Zaur Uguev of Russia in the keenly-fought men’s 57kg freestyle title clash at the Tokyo Olympics. The 23-year-old became only the second Indian wrestler, after Sushil Kumar, to get a Games silver.
August 5, 2021: The Indian men's hockey team beat Germany 5-4 to win the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. The medal is India's 12th hockey medal overall at the Olympics and the first in 41 years. India won the last of its eight hockey gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Games.
August 1, 2021: P.V. Sindhu beat China’s He Bingjiao 21-13, 21-15 to clinch the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo. With this win, she is now the first Indian woman to clinch back-to-back medals at the Olympics and the second Indian after Sushil Kumar to win two individual Olympic medals. She had won a silver in the last Olympics in Rio after losing in the final to Carolina Marin.
August 4, 2021: Lovlina Borgohain won a bronze medal after losing in the semifinals to reigning World Champion and top seed Busenaz Surmeneli in the women's welterweight division. Lovlina becomes the third Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal, after Vijender Singh (men's middleweight bronze, Beijing 2008) and MC Mary Kom (women's flyweight bronze, London 2012).
August 7, 2021: Bajrang Punia overcame injury concerns to beat Kazakhstan's Daulet Niyazbekov 8-0 to win the bronze medal at Tokyo 2020. This was the second time after London that India won two wrestling medals at a single edition of the Olympics. Bajrang is the sixth Indian wrestler to win medal at the Olympics after KD Jadhav (bronze, 1952), Sushil Kumar (bronze, 2008 and silver, 2012), Yogeshwar Dutt (bronze, 2012), Sakshi Malik (bronze, 2016) and Ravi Dahiya. Photo: REUTERS
August 7, 2021: Aditi Ashok, Aditi Ashok exceeded expectations, but missed a podium finish by the narrowest of margins as she finished fourth. The Indian golfer, who came into the Olympic Games ranked 200 missed bronze by one stroke.
August 6, 2021: In a closely contested Olympic bronze medal match, the Indian women’s hockey team were defeated 3-4 by Great Britain at the 2020 Tokyo Games. The Indian forward Vandana Katariya became the first Indian woman to score an Olympic hat-trick in hockey during a Pool game against South Korea. The highlight of India's resurgence in Olympics was the unbelievable victory over tournament favourite Australia in the quarterfinals.
August 14, 2016: Dipa Karmakar made history when she got a fourth position finish with an overall score of 15.066 in Women's Vault Gymnastics event at the Rio Olympics in 2016. She was the first Indian female gymnast to compete in the Olympics and first Indian gymnast to do so in 52 years. She is among the five women who have successfully mastered the Produnova, which is currently one of the most difficult vault in women’s gymnastics. - Getty Images