Even though India is on a run to become the most populous county, there are just handfuls of athletes that represent the nation at the world level.
But communication modes like the TV and internet are expanding our awareness about sports, and inspiring talent from the around the country to show their prowess. Where once upon a time, we only knew cricket, we’re gradually opening doors for other sports and inviting players to practice and train in them.
The following list names some of the most brilliant Indian athletes, who are not as popular in India as they should have been.
8. Shiva Keshavan
When it’s about Tricolor flag in Winter Olympics, Shiva Keshavan is the only name most people recognize. Born in the Manali district of Himachal Pradesh, Shiva is a five time Olympian and holds the new Asian speed record at 83.5 mph. Besides, Shiva has won two gold medals in Nagano Asia Cup in 2011 and 2012. Even after gaining a lot of success internationally, Shiva still remains a nominee for the prestigious Arjuna Award.
7. Achanta Sharath Kamal
Currently ranked 40th in world T.T. rankings, Sharath is certainly the most talented professional Table tennis players fromIndia.Sharath won the gold for men’s single event in 2004 Commonwealth Games and ever since has been a star name in the prestigious European League. In 2007, Sharath became the first Indian to win the esteemed Pyongyong Invitational Tournament and later represented India in 2008 Beijing Olympics as the only athlete in his sport.
6. Tintu Luka
Born and brought up in a small village in Kerala, Tintu always had a dream to make it big one day. So, she joined the Usha School of Athletics and soon made her name in newspapers when she won the Bronze in 800 meter event at 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. Besides, she also won the Gold in 4×400 meter rally at 2013 Pune Asian Championship and holds the national record of 1:59.85 for women’s 800 meter event.
5. P. V. Sindhu
Just at 19, P V Sindhu is popular as the best and most promising female badminton athlete in India. Sindhu is one quality talent from Gopichand’s arsenal and has made her identity in various badminton events. Earlier, Sindhu was ranked 3rd in BWF Junior Rankings, but made it to the top 20 in seniors when she won the World Championships in 2013. Honored with NDTV Indian of the Year 2014, Sindhu has a great future ahead and has everythingto become a national sports icon.
4. Sunil Chhetri
Sunil is one of the best football strikersfromIndia andholds an important position with the Indian national team. After spending a goal smashing career with MohunBagna, JCT Mills, East Bengal and Dempo from 2002 – 2010, Sunil made a breakthrough to international area with Kansas City Wizards and later with Portuguese football club Sporting CP B. In his international career of 73 caps, Sunil has scored 42 crucial goals and has won several titles for India.
3. Humpy Koneru
If Viswanathan Anand is the king of Indian chess, Humpy Koneru should be classified as the queen of this strategic board game. Humpy is anIndian chess Grandmaster and is currently ranked 3rd in world ranking with a peak rating of 2623 in 2009. Besides, at the age of 15, Humpy holds the record of being the youngest woman ever and retained the title for 6 long years. In 1999, Humpy emerged as Asia’s youngest International Woman Master and two years later won the World junior championship in Athens.
2. Jeev Milkha Singh
We do know a lot about his father, but not as much of this highest ranked Indian golfer in the world. Jeev is the proud son to a proud father Sir Milkha Singh – The Flying Sikh. However, Jeev is the only Indian Golfer to win 4 European Tours, 4 Japanese Tour, 6 Asian tour and 7 other golfing events. I his 21 years of professional golfing career, Jeev has achieved every success a sportsman could ever ask for.
1. Pankaj Advani
Nicknamed as the Prince of India, Pankaj is the most prominent Indian name in professional sports of billiards and snooker, Pankaj is a nine times champion and currently world’s number one in 6-Red Snooker. Pankaj has also earned two Gold medals for India in 2006 and 2010 Asian Games. Besides, Pankaj is a record 5 times Asian Billiards Champion and the only professional player to play IBSF World Billiards Championship in both formats.