New Delhi: The following is the list of top-10 Indian sportspersons who made news during 2012.
Sachin Tendulkar: Ending days of speculation, the legendary cricketer Dec 23 decided to retire from One-Day Internationals. The timing was a bit surprising since it came moments before the team for Pakistan was announced. It was not the way Tendulkar’s fans would have expected him to end his 23-year-old illustrious career. Nevertheless it was a momentous year for the batting great, who completed 100 centuries in March during the Asia Cup in Dhaka.
Sushil Kumar: The wrestler from Najafgarh on the outskirts of Delhi created history by becoming the only Indian to win two individual Olympic medals. Sushil had won the bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and clinched the silver in London. He also won the gold medal at the 2010 World Wrestling Championships in the 66kg freestyle category. The 29-year-old was also India’s flag bearer at the London Olympics opening ceremony.
Vijay Kumar: The Indian Army shooter made India proud by winning the silver medal in the 25-metre rapid fire pistol event at the London Olympics. Vijay had earlier won three gold medals and one silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. He was promoted as Subedar Major and given a cash award of Rs.30 lakh with Army Chief General Bikram Singh promising all help to elevate him to the rank of an officer.
Gagan Narang: Rifleman Gagan Narang provided the spark to India’s Olympic campaign by clinching the bronze in the men’s 10 metre air rifle event giving the country its first medal in London. The 29-year-old claimed the bronze, which was India’s third shooting medal in Olympic history. Narang was invited by the organisers of the Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix to wave the chequered flag.
Saina Nehwal: The queen of Indian badminton had an excellent 2012. Not only did she win numerous titles, the 22-year-old became the first Indian shuttler to win a medal in the Olympics. Saina won the women’s singles bronze at the Olympics after her Chinese opponent, Xin Wang, retired following an injury. Saina also won the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold, Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold, Indonesia Open Super Series Premier and Denmark Open Super Series Premier.
Yogeshwar Dutt: The Sonepat grappler won the bronze medal in the 60kg freestyle category at the London Olympics. His medal was the second wrestling medal for the country from the 2012 Games.
M.C. Mary Kom: It was a breakthrough year for India’s ‘Million Dollar Baby’. After being ignored for years, despite winning five World Boxing Championships, Mary Kom finally got her due after winning bronze at the London Olympics. While the men failed to impress in the ring, she punched above her weight in the 51kg class as women’s boxing made its Olympic debut.
Girisha Hosanagara: Girisha gave India its first and only medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games after bagging a silver in the men’s high jump F42 event. The 24-year old from Karnataka, who has an impairment in his left leg, sailed over a height of 1.74m using scissors technique in the final of the event to finish second. He is only the eighth medallist of India at Paralympics and only the third to claim silver.
Viswanathan Anand: Anand lived up to his reputation as the best rapid player of his generation when he routed challenger Boris Gelfand of Israel 2.5-1.5 in the four-game tiebreakers in Moscow to win his fifth World Chess Championship.
Pankaj Advani: Ace cueist Pankaj Advani proved his class once again as he notched up his seventh World Billiards Championship after comprehensively beating defending champion and seasoned Englishman Mike Russell in the final.