Ravi Shastri (Cricket)
Ravi Shastri is a former Indian cricket player and the former head coach of the Indian national cricket team. He was born on May 27, 1962, in Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India. Shastri is known for his versatility in cricket, having played as an obdurate opening or middle-order batsman and a left-arm spinner integral to the attack.
Some of his notable achievements include being a prolific middle-order batsman and a successful all-rounder for the Indian cricket team. He served as a long-time deputy to several captains, including Kapil Dev and Sourav Ganguly. He was also a part of the Indian team that won the coveted World Championship of Cricket in Australia in 1985. After the emphatic win, he drove away with the then-famous Audi car. He was a favorite among his lady fans and known for his glamorous image. He served as the coach of the Indian team for the tour to Bangladesh following Greg Chappell’s resignation. He was inducted into the BCCI Hall of Fame. After he retired from cricket, Shastri worked as a cricket commentator and has been known for his combativeness and robust way with a cliché.
PT Usha (Athletics)
PT Usha, also known as Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha, is a renowned Indian athlete and one of the most successful track and field athletes in the country’s history. Born in the village of Kuttali in Kerala, she is often referred to as the “Queen of Indian track and field.”
Her notable achievements include winning 23 medals in total, with 14 of them being gold. She dominated Asian track and field events for most of the 1980s, setting several national records and winning over 100 international medals. In 2022, she became the first woman president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). PT Usha’s popularity can be attributed to her exceptional talent, determination, and resilience. Despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks, she continued to break her own records and inspire generations of athletes in India. Her contributions to Indian athletics and her role as the first woman president of the IOA have further solidified her place in the country’s sports history.
Rohit Sharma (Cricket)
Rohit Sharma is an Indian international cricketer who currently captains the Indian national cricket team across all formats. He is known for his exceptional batting skills and has achieved numerous records and accolades in his cricketing career.
His achievements include clinching the world record for the highest-ever individual score in a one-day international with a remarkable 264 against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, on November 13, 2014. He is also the most successful captain in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with five trophies, the most by anyone in the tournament. He holds the record for the highest individual score in a T20 International match, with 118 runs against Sri Lanka in 2017. He is a prolific run-getter in all formats of the game, with impressive batting averages and a reputation for his striking abilities.
Dipa Karmakar (Gymnastics)
Dipa Karmakar is an Indian artistic gymnast from Tripura. She is the first female gymnast from India to compete in the Olympics. She won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, becoming the first Indian female gymnast to do so in the history of the Games. She also won a bronze medal at the Asian Gymnastics Championships and finished fifth at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, both firsts for her country. At the 2016 Summer Olympics, she finished in 4th place in the vault event final. She is one of only five gymnasts to have successfully completed the Produnova, one of the hardest vaults in the discipline. She was honored with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, and the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award for her contribution to sports.
Pankaj Advani (Billiards)
Pankaj Advani is an Indian billiards and professional snooker player, born on July 24, 1985, in Pune, Maharashtra, India. He is a 27-time World Billiards and Snooker Champion, having won 23 world titles in billiards and 4 in snooker. Advani has achieved numerous accolades in his career, including the Arjuna Award in 2004, the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna in 2006, the Padma Shri in 2009, and the Padma Bhushan in 2018. He is known for his exceptional achievements in the field of cue sports and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.
Neeraj Chopra (Athletics)
Neeraj Chopra is an Indian track and field athlete who is the reigning Olympic champion and World champion in Men’s javelin throw. He is the first Asian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in javelin and the first Asian to win gold in his event at the World Championship. He has won gold medals at the World Junior Championships, Asian Championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and South Asian Games. In addition to his athletic achievements, Chopra has also gained popularity for his consistency and youth appeal, which have made him a sought-after figure for endorsement deals across numerous industries. According to Kroll’s report, Chopra debuted with a brand value of USD 26.5 million at No. 23 in the top 25 celebrities list of 2022.
Mirabai Chanu (Weight Lifting)
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu is an Indian weightlifter who was born on August 9, 1994, in Nongpok Kakching, Imphal, Manipur, India. She is considered one of India’s finest weightlifters and has won numerous medals in international competitions, including the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and World Championships.
Her notable achievements include winning the silver medal in the women’s 49 kg weightlifting category at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and becoming only the second Indian weightlifter to win an Olympic medal after Karnam Malleswari. She won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and 2018. She also won a gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championships in 2017. In 2018, she was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting honor.
Milkha Singh (Athletics)
Milkha Singh, also known as “The Flying Sikh,” was an Indian track and field sprinter who was introduced to the sport while serving in the Indian Army. He is the only athlete to win gold in 400 meters at the Asian Games as well as the Commonwealth Games. He also won gold medals in the 1958 and 1962 Asian Games. He represented India in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honor, in recognition of his sporting achievements. Milkha Singh passed away on June 18, 2021, at the age of 91.
Mahesh Bhupathi (Tennis)
Mahesh Bhupathi is an Indian former professional tennis player who achieved success in both singles and doubles. He is considered one of the most successful doubles players in the history of the sport. Bhupathi has won 12 Grand Slam titles, including 4 men’s doubles titles and 8 mixed doubles titles. He has also been ranked as high as No. 1 in the world in doubles. In addition to his Grand Slam success, Bhupathi won a gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games and a silver medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in the men’s doubles event. He has been a key figure in popularizing and promoting tennis in India and has made significant contributions to the sport both as a player and as a mentor.
Bhaichung Bhutia (Football)
Bhaichung Bhutia, also known as Baichung Bhutia, is a former Indian professional footballer who played as a striker. He was born on December 15, 1976, in Tinkitam, Sikkim, India, and is considered the torchbearer of Indian football in the international arena. Bhutia’s notable achievements include making his club professional debut in 1993 for Calcutta-based East Bengal, where he scored 4 goals in the league. He is the founder of the Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools, which aims to promote football in India and provide opportunities for young players to develop their skills. Bhutia has also been associated with various charitable organizations and has been actively involved in social work. He currently manages the Sikkim state football team. His net worth is estimated to be around $2 million as of 2023. Bhutia was born into a Nepali-speaking family in Tinkitam, a small village in Sikkim, India, and his parents are Dwajendra Bhutia and Sangay Bhutia.
Dhanraj Pillay (Hockey)
Dhanraj Pillay is a retired Indian field hockey player and former captain of the Indian national team. He was born on July 16, 1968, in Khadki, Pune, Maharashtra, India. He made his debut in 1989 with the national team and in a career spanning over 15 years, appeared for India in four Olympic Games, World Cups, and Champion Trophies each. He made 339 appearances for the national team and is recorded, unofficially, to have scored 170 goals. He is widely regarded as one of the best Indian players in hockey. He also played for clubs in countries such as England and Germany. Recognizing his achievements, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the government of India in 2000. He is currently overseeing the SAG Hockey Academy in Gujarat funded by the Gujarat Government.
Leander Paes (Tennis)
Leander Paes is an Indian former professional tennis player who is regarded as one of the greatest doubles tennis players of all time. He holds the record for the most doubles wins in the Davis Cup and has won eight men’s doubles and ten mixed doubles Grand Slam titles.
Paes made a total of 34 Grand Slam finals across men’s and mixed doubles in his career, which is the joint 2nd highest of all-time among men. He is also the first Indian tennis player to win an Olympic medal in singles, having won a bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Paes was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honor, in recognition of his sporting achievements.
Dhyan Chand (Hockey)
Dhyan Chand (August 29, 1905 – December 3, 1979) was an Indian field hockey player, often called a ‘magician’ on the Hockey field.
He is considered to be the all-time greatest player in the game of Hockey. Dhyan Chand won three Olympic gold medals (1928, 1932, and 1936) in field hockey, during an era where India was the most dominant team in Hockey.
His 29th August is celebrated as the National Sports Day in India, and the President gives away awards such as Rajiv Arjuna and Dronacharya awards on this day.
He played his final international match in 1948, having scored more than 400 goals during his international career.
The Government of India awarded him the third highest (then second highest) civilian honor of Padma Bhushan. His influence extended beyond these victories, as India won the field hockey event in seven out of eight Olympics from 1928 to 1964.
Dhyan Chand’s birthday, 29 August, is celebrated as National Sports Day in India since 1995. The President gives away sports-related awards such as the Major Dhyanchand Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award, and Dronacharya Award on this day at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, India.
Sunil Gavaskar (Cricket)
Sunil Gavaskar, also known as “Sunny” and “Little Master,” is an Indian cricket commentator and former cricketer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest opening batsmen of all time.
He was born on July 10, 1949, in Bombay (now Mumbai), India. Gavaskar skillfully captained the Indian team in 47 Test matches and is known for his exceptional technique against fast bowling.
He was the first batsman to score 10,000 Test runs and was inducted into the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame in 2009.
Gavaskar’s impressive performance in domestic and international cricket, particularly against the formidable West Indian bowlers, has solidified his legacy as a cricketing icon.
Kapil Dev (Cricket)
Kapil Dev, born on January 6, 1959, in Chandigarh, India, is considered one of the greatest Indian cricket players of all time.
He is known for his exceptional all-round skills, having scored over 5,000 runs and taken more than 400 wickets in Test cricket.
He captained the Indian cricket team that won the 1983 Cricket World Cup, becoming the first Indian captain to win the Cricket World Cup.
He is still the youngest captain (at the age of 24) to win the World Cup for any team. He was a fast-medium bowler and a hard-hitting middle-order batsman. Dev is the only player in the history of cricket to have taken more than 400 wickets (434 wickets) and scored more than 5,000 runs in Test cricket.
He retired in 1994, as the first player to take 200 ODI wickets, and held the world record for the highest number of wickets taken in Test cricket, a record subsequently broken by Courtney Walsh in 2000. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1982 and the Padma Bhushan in 1991.
In 2002, he was named by Wisden as the Indian Cricketer of the Century. He was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2010 and received the C. K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, the highest honor conferred by BCCI on a former player.
Abhinav Bindra (Shooting)
Abhinav Bindra is an Indian Olympic gold medallist, retired sport shooter, and businessman. He is the first and one of only two Indians to win an Individual Olympic Gold Medal.
He won the gold medal in the 10 m Air Rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, becoming the first Indian to win an individual Olympic gold medal.
He is also the first Indian to have held concurrently the world and Olympic titles for the men’s 10-meter air rifle event, having earned those honors at the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championships. Bindra has also won seven medals at the Commonwealth Games and three medals at the Asian Games.
With more than 150 medals in his 22-year career, he is the recipient of the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India.
Bindra’s primary outreach to Indian sports is through the Abhinav Bindra Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to integrate sports, science, and technology into Indian sports and encourage high-performance physical training.
Viswanathan Anand (Chess)
Viswanathan Anand is an Indian chess grandmaster and a former five-time World Chess Champion. He became the first grandmaster from India in 1988 and has the eighth highest peak FIDE rating of all time.
Anand defeated Alexei Shirov in a six-game match to win the 2000 FIDE World Chess Championship, a title he held until 2002.
He became the undisputed world champion in 2007 and defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008, Veselin Topalov in 2010, and Boris Gelfand in 2012. In 2013, he lost the title to challenger Magnus Carlsen, and he lost a rematch to Carlsen in 2014 after winning the 2014 Candidates Tournament.
Anand is known for his rapid playing speed and has won the FIDE World Rapid Chess Championship in 2003 and 2017, the World Blitz Cup in 2000, and numerous other top-level rapid and blitz events.
He was the first recipient of the Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, India’s highest sporting honour. In 2007, he was awarded India’s second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan. He has also won the Chess Oscar in 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008.
Sania Mirza (Tennis)
Sania Mirza is a former professional tennis player. She turned pro in February 2003 and retired in February 2023. A former doubles world No. 1, she won six major titles – three in women’s doubles and three in mixed doubles. She was the first Indian woman to become the world No.1 in WTA doubles rankings.
In singles, Mirza had wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva, and Marion Bartoli, as well as former world-number-ones Martina Hingis, Dinara Safina, and Victoria Azarenka.
She is the highest-ranked Indian female player ever, peaking at world No. 27 in mid-2007. However, a major wrist injury caused her to shift to doubles.
Mirza has achieved a number of firsts for women’s tennis in India, including reaching the one million-US$ mark in career earnings (currently over US$7.2 million), winning a singles WTA Tour title, and winning a major title. She also qualified for (and eventually won) the WTA Finals in 2014 in doubles partnering Cara Black, and defended her title the following year partnering Martina Hingis.
She won the Australian Open (2016), Wimbledon (2015), and US Open (2015) in women’s doubles, and the Australian Open (2009), French Open (2012), and US Open (2014) in mixed doubles. She also won the Tour Finals in 2014 and 2015.
Mirza represented India in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and Afro-Asian Games, winning numerous medals. She is, by far, the finest women’s tennis player India has produced.
MS Dhoni (Cricket)
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a former Indian professional cricketer who is widely regarded as one of the most successful captains in the history of cricket.
He was a right-handed batter and a wicket-keeper. Dhoni has captained the most international matches and has won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the 2011 Cricket World Cup, the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, and the Asia Cup in 2010, 2016, and 2018.
He also led the Indian team to the No.1 Test ranking for 18 months from 2009 to 2011.
Dhoni has scored 17,266 runs in international cricket, including more than 10,000 runs in ODIs at an average of over 50.
He has also led the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), leading them to the final ten times and winning it five times in 2010, 2011, 2018, 2021, and 2023. He has also led CSK to two Champions League T20 titles in 2010 and 2014.
PV Sindhu (Badminton)
PV Sindhu is an Indian professional badminton player who has achieved significant success in her career.
She became the first Indian woman to win a silver medal at the Olympics and a gold at the BWF World Championships.
She has won a total of five medals at the BWF World Championships, making her the second woman, after China’s Zhang Ning, to achieve this feat.
Additionally, she has won two Olympic medals, along with medals at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.
She was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest sporting honor in India, in August 2016, and has won numerous other awards and titles at both national and international tournaments.
Saina Nehwal (Badminton)
Saina Nehwal is an Indian professional badminton player who has won numerous titles and awards throughout her career.
She was the first-ever badminton player from India to win an Olympic medal, a bronze at the London 2012 Games.
She has also won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and the BWF World Championships and has been ranked as the world’s No. 1 badminton player.
She has won over 20 international titles, including one BWF World Tour, ten Super Series, and ten Grand Prix titles.
She has been honored with several awards, including the Arjuna Award, Padma Shri, Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna, and Padma Bhushan.
Mary Kom (Boxing)
Mary Kom, also known as Chungneijang Mary Kom, is an Indian Olympic-style boxer, politician, and former Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha.
She is the only woman to win the World Amateur Boxing Championship six times, the only female boxer to have won a medal in each one of the first seven World Championships, and the only boxer (male or female) to win eight World Championship medals.
Mary Kom has been one of India’s leading sporting superstars over the last two decades. She has won a medal at each of the eight editions of the women’s world boxing championships since it was introduced in 2001.
She became the first Indian to win a gold medal at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. She has won World Championships crowns in 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2010.
After a two-year break following the birth of her twins, she won the 2008 title. She won another world title in 2010 – a record fifth – and cemented her place among the greats of the game. She won her sixth world title in 2018.
By the time the London 2012 Olympics came around, Mary Kom was already an established name in the world of amateur boxing.
With five world championships gold to her name at the time, she became the first Indian badminton player to reach the Olympic final.
She won the bronze medal after losing out to Spain’s Carolina Marín. She made her second consecutive Olympic appearance at the 2020 Summer Olympics (Tokyo) and won a bronze medal, becoming the first-ever Indian woman to win two Olympic medals.
Sunil Chhetri (Football)
Sunil Chhetri is an Indian professional footballer who has achieved numerous milestones throughout his career.
He is the third-highest international goalscorer among active players, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and is also the most-capped player and the all-time top goalscorer for the India national team, with 84 goals in 131 appearances.
Chhetri has won the prestigious All India Football Federation (AIFF) Player of the Year title in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018-19, and 2021-22 seasons.
He has also won two big Government of India sporting honors, the Arjuna Award in 2011 and the Khel Ratna Award, the country’s biggest sporting honor, in 2021.
Chhetri has represented various clubs in his career, including Mohun Bagan, JCT, East Bengal, and Dempo. He has scored 156 goals in 354 appearances at the club level and is the top Indian goalscorer in the Indian Super League.
Virat Kohli (Cricket)
Virat Kohli is an Indian cricketer who is considered one of the best batsmen in the world and currently captains the Indian national cricket team.
He is popular due to his mix of Indian qualities, good physique, handsome beardo look, party-boy, beautiful wife who is in Bollywood, Punjabi guy, loves aggression in the game but chilled out and humble outside the game, consistency, and being the crush of millions of Indian girls.
He is also the most-capped player and the all-time top goalscorer for the India national team, with 84 goals in 131 appearances.
Additionally, he has won numerous awards and titles, including the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2017 and 2018, and the ICC ODI Player of the Year in 2012, 2017, and 2018.
Sachin Tendulkar (Cricket)
Sachin Tendulkar, born on 24 April 1973, is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket.
He is hailed as the world’s most prolific batsman of all time, and is the all-time highest run-scorer in both One Day International (ODI) and Test cricket with more than 18,000 runs and 15,000 runs, respectively. He also holds the record for receiving the most player of the match awards in international cricket.
Tendulkar’s achievements are numerous and significant. He is the first person to score a double century in ODIs, and the only player to have scored 100 centuries in internationals.
He has played 200 test matches, the most by any player. He has won a record 15 Man of the Series (MoS) and 62 Man of the Match (MoM) awards in ODI Matches. He was part of the Indian team that won the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
Tendulkar’s impact extends beyond his on-field exploits. He is one of the most popular cricketers not just in India but across the globe.
His sportsmanship, humility, and dedication have earned him immense respect and admiration worldwide. He has inspired a generation of young cricketers and continues to be a role model for aspiring athletes.
For his contributions to cricket, Tendulkar has received numerous honors from the Indian government including the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India. He was also awarded the Arjuna Award, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, and the Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan.