15 Sportsmen & Sportswomen Who Made Us Proud in 2021!

With the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Summer Paralympics, 2021 proved to be an especially eventful year for Indian sports. Not only did our athletes put their best foot forward, they even got us some medals in the process! We spent most of this year reeling from all the pride this year’s Olympics brought for India, and here are our picks for the 15 Sportsmen & Sportswomen who made us proud in 2021!

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1. Neeraj Chopra

One of the most popular names in India this year, Neeraj Chopra is an Indian track and field athlete who won the Gold medal in Men’s Javelin throw. He is the first Indian track and field athlete to win a Gold at the Olympics, and the second ever Indian after Abhinav Bindra to win a Gold at the Olympics. He had also achieved a world under-20 record  throw of 86.48m in 2016 during the IAAF World U20 championships. He received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in 2021. 

Source: Instagram

2. Avani Lekhara

Born in 2021, this young athlete brought home Gold at the age of only 20! Avani Lekhara is an Indian paralympian who won a gold medal in 10m air rifle standing. She also won a bronze medal in 50m rifle 4 positions. Lekhara is the first Indian woman to win more than one medal in a single Paralympic Games. She received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in 2021. 

Source: Instagram

3. Bhavina Patel

Bhavina Patel is an athlete and tabel tennis player who won a silver medal in Class 4 table tennis at the Tokyo Paralympics. She had also won the silver medal in women’s singles class 4 at the Asian Lara Table Tennis Championships in Beijing in 2013. She received the Arjuna Award in 2021. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Lovlina Borgohain

Lovlina Borgohain is an amateur boxer who won a bronze medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics. She is only the third India to win a medal at the Olympics and the sixth person from Assam to win the Arjuna Award. She also received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in 2021. 

Source: Instagram

5. Manish Narwal 

Manish Narwal is a Para Pistol shooter who is ranked fourth in the world in Men’s 10,m Air Pistol according to the World Shooting Para Sport Rankings. Narwal won a gold medal for India in Mixed P4 50m Pistol SH1 during the Tokyo Olympics. He was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2020 and the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in 2021.

6. Ravi Dahiya

Ravi Kumar Dahiya is a freestyle wrestler who won a silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and a Bronze at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships. He also received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award this year. 

Source: Twitter

7. P. V. Sindhu

One of the most prolific Indian badminton players in recent times, PV Sindhu is the first Indian to become the Badminton World Champion and the second Indian athlete to win two consecutive medals at the Olympic Games. She won the silver medal at the Rio Olympics of 2016, and then a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics. She has received multiple awards, including the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award and the Padma Shri. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

8. Sumit Antil

Sumit Antil is a paralympian and Javelin thrower who won a gold medal in the men’s Javelin throw F64 category at the 2020 Summer Paralympics. He was awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in 2021. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

9. Bajrang Punia

Bajrang Punia is a freestyle wrestler who won a Bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He is the only Indian wrestler to have won 3 medals at the prestigious World Wrestling Championships. He had also won the silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He has received a number of awards, including the Arjuna Award, the Padma Shri, and the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award. 

Source: Twitter

10. Mirabai Chanu

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu is an Indian weightlifter who won the silver medal at 2020 Tokyo Olympics in women’s 49 kg category. She had also previously won the silver medal at 2014 Commonwealth Games, and a gold medal at the World Weightlifting Championships in 2017. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

11. Pramod Bhagat

Pramod Bhagat is a para-badminton player who won a gold medal at the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Men’s Singles SL3. He had also won gold at the Asian Para Games in 2018. Bhagat received the Arjuna Award in 2019, and the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in 2021. 

Source: Twitter

12. Praveen Kumar

Praveen Kumar is a paralympian who won the silver medal in the Men’s High Jump event at the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo. He was honoured with the Arjuna Award this year. 

Source: Twitter

13. Manpreet Singh

Manpreet Singh Pawar is a field hockey player who has been captain of the Indian national field hockey team since 2017, and under his captaincy, India won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. He was named Asia’s Junior player of the year in 2014. He received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in 2021. 

Source: Twitter

14. P R Sreejesh

Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh is a professional field hockey player who plays goalkeeper for the Indian national field hockey team, and was part of the Indian field hockey team at Tokyo Summer Olympics that won the bronze medal. He was given the title of “Goalkeeper of the Tournament” at the 2014 and 2018 Champions Trophy, and received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in 2021. 

Source: Twitter

15. Krishna Nagar

Krishna Nagar is a para-badminton player who won a gold medal at the 2020 Summer Paralympics. He had previously won bronze at Asian Para Games in 2018, and was awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award this year. 

Source: Twitter

Did you like our list of the best sportsmen & sportswomen of 2021? Comment below to tell us who was your favourite this year!

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