Neeraj's Tokyo Victory, Team India's Overseas Heroics & The Other Indian Sports Triumphs of 2021
Neeraj Chopra Claims Historic Olympic Gold in Tokyo
Neeraj's Tokyo triumph was also the country's first Olympic medal in athletics.
The 24-year-old native of Haryana wasn't the overwhelming favourite to win the event, however: world champion Johannes Vetter had consistently hit the 90-metre mark before the quadrennial sports competition in the Japanese capital.
But once the German made an early departure in the final, Chopra became almost unstoppable.
After a throw of 87.03 metres in his first attempt, Neeraj went on to clear a distance of 87.58 metres in his second, and was the only athlete to cross the 87-metre mark in the final.
Indian Team Conquers All in Test Cricket
#TeamIndia Beat 🇿🇦 By 1⃣1⃣3⃣ Runs— ViratGang (@ViratGang) December 30, 2021
• 1st Asian Captain & 3rd Overall To Win A Test At Centurion
• 1st Indian To Win 2 Boxing Day Test Matches
• 1st Asian Captain To Win 2 Or More Tests As Captain In 🇿🇦, 🇦🇺 & 🏴
• Only Indian Captain To Win 2 Teats In 🇿🇦@imVkohli • #INDvsSA pic.twitter.com/CyXzUoQxgC
The first triumph was at Lord's, widely known as the "Mecca of cricket" where India sealed a sensational 151-run victory over England, before following it up with another commanding performance at the Kennington Oval to trounce the hosts by 157 runs.
India's wins in England, Australia and South Africa took their tally of overseas victories to four in 2021 - their highest number in a calendar year.
Virat Kohli, Indian Cricket Board Engage in Verbal Duel Over ODI Captaincy
First, the star batsman was engaged in an ugly confrontation with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after he was stripped of his captaincy of the country's One-Day International (ODI) team.
The row kicked off when the Indian squad for South Africa was announced. But the whole ignominy of the affair became clear when Kohli revealed that he hadn't been informed about the decision in advance.
Kohli's statement was in direct contrast with what BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly had said. Ganguly, a legendary Indian cricketer himself, had claimed that the selectors had begged Kohli not to quit the T20I captaincy and he also had prior information about the change in leadership in the ODIs.
The controversy still continues to rage in the south Asian nation, with chief selector Chetan Sharma presenting his own version of the sequence of events.
According to former cricketers, Sharma has poured a little more fuel on the fire as he disclosed that Kohli was only asked to postpone his exit as T20I captain.
Manu Bhaker's Pistol Gives Her 'Pain' in Tokyo
Bhaker was one of the prime contenders to claim a medal in shooting for the nation of more than a billion. But she was left in tears after her pistol encountered a snag as she fired the 16th shot.
Before her gun malfunctioned, everything was going according to plan for Bhaker: she was in fourth position at that point and was well on her way to the final. The top eight qualify for the finals.
At that stage, Bhaker had 55 minutes to take her next 44 shots, but the repair work on her gun took 17 minutes and she was left with only 38 minutes to finish her qualification round.
The forced break shattered her dream of winning a medal at the Olympics as the teenager failed to progress to the finals at the Asaka Shooting Range.
Eventually, the highly talented markswoman left Tokyo empty-handed, the victim not only of cruel fate but of a malfunctioning machine as well.
Indian Hockey Team's Long Wait for an Olympic Medal Ends in Japan
A COMEBACK of the highest order! 🔥🔥🔥#IND scored two back-to-back goals in the second quarter to make it 3-3 vs #GER and then broke through in the third quarter to turn the match in their favour. 👏#Tokyo2020 | #UnitedByEmotion | #StrongerTogether | #BestOfTokyo pic.twitter.com/SW8ZrbGrTp— Olympic Khel (@OlympicKhel) August 5, 2021
Subsequently, the match transformed into a seesaw battle as both sides continued to raise their level after the other gained any sort of advantage.
After the Germans doubled their lead to 3-1, Manpreet and his boys clawed their way back in the match, levelling the score thanks to Hardik Singh and Harmanpreet Singh's strikes at the end of the first half.
Afterwards, India lifted their game to spectacular heights, as Rupinder Pal Singh's penalty stroke in the third quarter and Simranjeet Singh's smart tactics secured their first Olympic medal since the 1980 Moscow Games.
Kidambi Srikanth's Glorious Silver at World Badminton Championships
Although Srikanth lost to Singapore's Loh Kean Yew in straight games in the final, it was still a moment to cherish for men's badminton in India.
Apart from the feats of legendary Prakash Padukone and current national coach Pullela Gopichand, both of whom had won the prestigious All England Open title in 1980 and 2001 respectively, it has been the female shuttlers who have claimed all the limelight in the country in the past 15 years or so.
The result was even more important for Srikanth, considering he had struggled to achieve much success in men's singles since his breakthrough season in 2017.