#5 See You In Tokyo, Folks!
The Indian women’s hockey team captain, Rani Rampal’s 48th-minute strike ensured that India book a Tokyo Olympics berth as they pipped USA 6-5 on aggregate despite losing 1-4 in the second leg of the FIH Qualifier last month. Both the men’s and women’s teams missed their opportunities at the Asian Games last year and settled for bronze and silver respectively. This time, both the teams claimed a second chance by the scruff of the neck to confirm the country’s participation at next year’s Summer Olympic Games.
#4 Panghal’s Silver-Lining
Amit Panghal has been one of India’s most consistent boxers in the recent past. Ever since Panghal went on to win the bronze at Asian Championships in 2017, the 23-year-old has been on an upward trajectory. He put on a valiant effort but lost the intense 52kg final against Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov to settle with a historic silver at the World Boxing Championships this year. Panghal lost 0-5 to reigning Olympic champion Zoirov to win India’s first silver medal by a male at the World Boxing Championships. Before this year, India had never won more than one bronze medal at a single edition of the world championships.
#3 Why Fear Federer When Nagal Is Here?
Young tennis star Sumit Nagal scripted history by qualifying for the main draw of the US Open, becoming the youngest Indian in 25 years to achieve the feat. And he commemorated it in style clinching the first set against 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. It was a dream debut for Nagal as he produced a spirited performance and went down fighting 6-4, 1-6, 2-6, 4-6 to Federer at the Arthur Ashe stadium in New York on August 27. In the process, he also became only the fourth Indian to win a set in the main draw of a Grand Slam in the last 20 years.
#2 The Miracle On Mat
One of India’s top wrestlers, Vinesh Phogat has brought laurels for the country from international competitions in and around the world. She bagged a maiden World Championship medal in 2019 in the women’s 53kg category after pinning Maria Prevolaraki in the bronze medal match. She became the first Indian wrestler to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 by virtue of her top-six finish. The first Indian woman wrestler to win gold in both Commonwealth and Asian Games, Vinesh next aims to gun for a greater glory at the Tokyo Olympics next year.
#1 The 38-Minute Gold Medal Clash
For Hyderabadi ace shuttler P V Sindhu it has been a marvelous first half of 2019 as she etched a new record for herself and the country when she laid her hands on the elusive gold medal at the BWF World Championships. Having eyed the crown of becoming the World Champion, Sindhu exhibited a powerful form and looked formidable against old foe Nozomi Okuhara of Japan to claim the title for herself. Sindhu put up an impressive performance that had Okuhara grappling for points in vain.
Bagging the World Championship crown, Sindhu’s form had dipped with early-exits in the next six tournaments. Save for a quarter-final finish at the Fuzhou French Open 2019, Sindhu’s pinnacle moment of the year came on August 25 in Basel. Sindhu has laid down a record of winning medals at every World Championships, the exception being of 2015. A recipient of both Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Padma Shri, Sindhu became the second woman in the world to win five or more medals at the World Championships.