2020 was supposed to be a benchmark year in sports in India as we were preparing to host and participate in international sporting events of the highest level. The athletes and the viewers too, were all prepared for the sporting events.
The year entertained sports for the first two months but from March onwards, there was no play. The Coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to sport all across the world.
Amidst this uncertain and unpredictable year, we saw athletes and teams marking their presence and emerging as the sporting highlights of 2020. Here are the sporting highlights of 2020:
1) For the first time, the sports ministry awarded Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award honors 5 athletes which included Rohit Sharma (Cricket), Mariyappan Thangavelu (Para Athletics), Manika Batra (Table Tennis), Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling), Rani Rampal (Hockey).
There were total of 73 winners for the very first time.
Arjuna Award: Atanu Das (Archery), Dutee Chand (Athletics), Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy (Badminton), Chirag Chandrasekhar Shetty (Badminton), Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (Basketball), Manish Kaushik (Boxing), Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing), Ishant Sharma (Cricket), Deepti Sharma (Cricket), Sawant Ajay Anant (Equestrian), Sandesh Jhingan (Football), Aditi Ashok (Golf), Akashdeep Singh (Hockey), Deepika (Hockey), Deepak (Kabaddi), Kale Sarika Sudhakar (Kho Kho), Dattu Baban Bhokanal (Rowing), Manu Bhaker (Shooting), Saurabh Chaudhary (Shooting), Madhurika Patkar (Table Tennis), Divij Sharan (Tennis), Shiva Keshavan (Winter Sports), Divya Kakran (Wrestling), Rahul Aware (Wrestling), Suyash Narayan Jadhav (Para Swimming), Sandeep (Para Athletics), Manish Narwal (Para Shooting)
Dronacharya Award (Life- Time Category): Dharmendra Tiwary (Archery), Purushotham Rai (Athletics), Shiv Singh (Boxing), Romesh Pathania (Hockey), Krishan Kumar Hooda (Kabaddi), Vijay Bhalchandra Munishwar (Para Powerlifting), Naresh Kumar (Tennis), Om Parkash Dahiya (Wrestling).
Dronacharya Award Regular Category : Jude Felix (Hockey), Yogesh Malviya (Mallakhamb), Jaspal Rana (Shooting), Kuldeep Kumar Handoo (Wushu), Gaurav Khanna (Para Badminton).
Dhyan Chand Award: Kuldip Singh Bhullar (Athletics), Jincy Philips (Athletics), Pradeep Shrikrishna Gandhe (Badminton), Trupti Murgunde (Badminton), N Usha(Boxing), Lakha Singh (Boxing), Sukhvinder Singh Sandhu (Football), Ajit Singh (Hockey), Manpreet Singh (Kabaddi), J Ranjith Kumar (Para Athletics), Satyaprakash Tiwari (Para Badminton), Manjeet Singh (Rowing), Late Shri Sachin Nag (Swimming), Nandan Bal (Tennis), Netarpal Hooda (Wrestling).
2) IFA SHIELD — Real Kashmir FC triumphs
Real Kashmir FC’s IFA Shield 2020 victory was the official stamp in Indian football’s biggest underdog story. — their first major honour on the national stage.
3) The ICC Awards of the Decade winners announced
Virat Kohli won the Sir Garfield Sobers Award for ICC Male Cricketer of the Decade and the ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Decade
MS Dhoni won ICC Spirit of Cricket Award of the Decade
4) Indian boxers booked their Olympic tickets
The Indian boxers were on their top game as they qualified for the Tokyo Olympics at the Asian Olympic Boxing Qualifiers in Amman, Jordan Led by the legend MC Mary Kom (51kg) Amit Panghal (53kg), Manish Kaushik (63kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), Satish Kumar (+91kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg).
5) Sumit Nagal made a Grand statement
Sumit’s 6–1, 6–3, 3–6, 6–1 win over Bradley Klahn of the USA was the first by an Indian in the singles at a Grand Slam since Somdev Devvarman beat Slovakian Lukáš Lacko in the opening round of the 2013 US Open.
Recently he received the wildcard for Australian Open 2021.
6) India won 7 medals in UWW Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series in Italy
India won 4 golf, 2 silver and 1 bronze at the UWW Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series held in Rome , Italy. Bajrang Punia, Ravi Kumar Dahiya,Vinesh Phogat ,Gurpreet Singh won a gold medals. Anshu Malik, Sunil Kumar settled for a silver and Sajan Bhanwal got a bronze.
7) Sharath Kamal wins Oman Open
Indian table tennis ace Achanta Sharath Kamal won the ITTF Challenge Plus Oman Open in Muscat .
8) Indian hockey team shines in FIH Pro League
India hockey team kicked-off the FIH Pro League with an astounding 5–1 win over world No.3 the Netherlands and finished 4th in the FIH rankings.
9) Bala Devi made Indian football history
The year also saw one of Indian women’s football team’s leading players, Bala Devi, sign an 18-month contract with Scottish football giants Rangers Women’s FC.
10) Historic first for Indian Fed Cup team
Indian women Tennis athletes made it to the Fed Cup (now called the Billie Jean King Cup) play-offs for the first time in history. The Indian Fed Cup team, led by Sania Mirza, were in control as they beat South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Uzbekistan and Indonesia, losing only to China at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre in Dubai.
11) Sania Mirza won the Hobart International WTA title
Teaming up with Ukraine’s Nadiia Kichenok in the women’s doubles, Sania Mirza capped off her return with a title win at the Hobart International Tournament.
12) Ankita Raina Won The Doubles Tennis At $100 TFK Women’s Event In Dubai
Tennis Player Ankita Ravinderkrishnan Raina won the doubles title at $100 TFK women’s event in Dubai. She played along with partner, Ekaterine Gorgodze of Georgia.
13) Jehan Daruvala became the first Indian to win F2 race
A thrilling battle against F2 champion Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ticktum saw the 22 year old Indian emerge on top in the support race of the season ending formula 1 Grand prix.
14) Indian Cyclist Ronaldo Singh became World No.1 in Three Men’s Junior Tracks Categories
Ronaldo, 18, claimed the top spot in the Men’s Junior Sprint Ranking, Men’s Junior Keirin Ranking and Men’s Junior 1km Time Trial Ranking.
15) India, Russia joint Chess Olympiad winners
India and Russia were declared joint winners of the 2020 Online Chess Olympiad. It was the first time the Olympiad was played in an online format, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
16) Indian Women Team in Finals at T20 World Cup
On March 8, International Women’s Day, a total of 86,174 fans packed into the Melbourne Cricket Ground for an historic occasion. The T20 World Cup final between powerhouse nations Australia and India was the highest attended women’s sporting event ever staged in Australia and the second-highest the world had ever seen.
17) India bags 9 medals at Cologne World Cup
India finished the competition at the second spot overall after claiming three gold, two silver and four bronze medals. Amit Panghal ,Manisha Moun ,Simranjit Kaur won the gold medals. Sakshi Chaudhary , Satish Kumar settled for silver medals and Sonia Lather , Pooja Rani, Gaurav Solanki and Mohamed hussamudin bagged bronze.
18) India clinched medals at Alexis Vastine International Boxing Tournament in France
World silver-medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) and Sanjeet (91kg) struck gold ,Kavinder Singh Bisht (57kg) settled for a silver medal and Shiva Thapa (63kg), Sumit Sangwan (81kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) bagged bronze by reaching Semi Finals.
19) Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan G settled for silver at ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open
Indian men’s doubles pair of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan settled for a silver medal at the ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open after losing the summit clash to German combination of Benedikt Duda and Patrick Franziska in Budapest. Sharath also won a bronze with Manika Batra in mixed doubles.
20) Manav Thakkar became World No.1 in Under 21 category
The 20 year old Manav Thakkar climbed to the top of the U-21 world rankings in January 2020. Bastien Rembert of China was ranked second while Roumania’s Cristian Pletea was third on the rankings.
21) Shooters win at Meyton Cup in Austria
Divyansh and Apurvi won the gold in the men’s and women’s10m air rifle event respectively. Deepak Kumar and Anjum Moudgil also a bagged bronze medal each in men’s and women’s 10m air rifle events respectively.
22) India’s Anshu Malik settled for silver at Wrestling World Cup
Freestyle wrestler Anshu Malik from Jind, Haryana was the only woman to bring a medal home from the Individual Wrestling World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia.
Thank you for being part of our journey in 2020 and we will continue to work and persevere for a brighter and better sports ecosystem.
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