Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty

Guts & glory: Capturing India’s sporting saga of 2023

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Satwiksairaj Rankireddy & Chirag Shetty ( From left to right) Photo: PTI


2023 has been a landmark year in Indian sports, marked by an extraordinary array of achievements and memorable moments. The nation basked in glory with its record-breaking medal tally at the Asian Games, showcasing the depth and diversity of its sporting talent. The cricket team’s remarkable journey to the World Cup final captivated millions, epitomising the spirit and passion that cricket stirs in the country. However, the year also had its share of trials, particularly for the wrestling community, which faced its own set of challenges. The photos below offer a snapshot of India’s exhilarating and tumultuous year in sports, encapsulating the triumphs and tribulations that have defined 2023.

A ton of medals: Neeraj Chopra (top, right) defended his javelin crown at the Asian Games. Standing one step below him on the podium was the unheralded Kishore Jena (top, left). Parul Chaudhary (right) established herself as one of the finest distance runners in Asia — bagging two medals at Hangzhou — a 3,000- metre steeplechase silver and a 5,000m gold. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (bottom, left) and Chirag Shetty (bottom, right) also lived up to their hype by bagging gold in the badminton’s doubles final. India finished with 107 medals, the country’s best-ever tally at the showpiece sporting event. The sports ministry confirmed the Khel Ratna honour for Rankireddy and Shetty.

Neeraj chopra, Kishore Jena


Kishore Jena & Neeraj chopra ( From left to right) Photo: PTI

Parul Chaudhary


Parul Chaudhary Photo: PTI

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty


Satwiksairaj Rankireddy & Chirag Shetty ( From left to right) Photo: PTI

Fire and ice: India looked like a team possessed, winning 10 games in their march to the ICC Men’s World Cup final. Virat Kohli (top) scored 765 runs, a record at the World Cups. He also overtook Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries at the showpiece event. Mohammed Shami (left)  picked up 24 wickets from seven games. He also bagged a seven-for in the semifinal against New Zealand — a first by an Indian pacer. Their herculean efforts were not enough as Australia defeated India in the World Cup final. Shami bagged the Arjuna award for his stellar show.

Virat Kohli


Virat Kohli       (Photo: PTI)

Mohammed Shami


Mohammed Shami      (Photo: PTI)

Sparkling in white:  The Indian women’s cricket team defeated England under seven sessions in a Test match. It followed it up by registering its first-ever win in the traditional format against Australia. The year also witnessed the first auction for the Women’s Premier League.

women's cricket team


Women’s cricket team (Photo: PTI)

Siblings’ gambit: Indian chess ace R Vaishali joined younger sibling R Praggnanandhaa to become the world’s first brother-sister Grandmasters duo
R Vaishali with younger sibling R Praggnanandhaa


R Vaishali with younger sibling R Praggnanandhaa    (Photo: PTI)

Record player: Novak Djokovic toppled Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 men’s singles Majors at Roland Garros, and won the 24th Major at the US Open. The year also saw the Serb become the first player to win at least three Majors on three different surfaces. It was also the eighth time he finished the year as the No.1 ranked player.

Novak Djokovic


Novak Djokovic (Photo: Reuters)

Eighth wonder: Lionel Messi won a record eighth Ballon d’Or for the best player. The Argentine talisman, who last won the prestigious award in 2021, had played a pivotal role in guiding Argentina to its first World Cup title in 36 years in 2022.

Lionel Messi


Lionel Messi (Photo: Reuters)

On the mat: Angered and frustrated over the lack of action against BJP MP Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, the former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief  for his alleged misconduct against female wrestlers, Olympic-winning medallists like Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik (pictured below)  and Yogeshwar Dutt protested from Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. Later in the year, Malik announced her retirement after Sanjay Singh, a close aide of the MP, was elected WFI president. The sports ministry suspended the newly elected WFI panel and directed the Indian Olympic Association to run the federation’s operations.

Sakshi Malik


Sakshi Malik (Photo: PTI)

Heir apparent: The year saw the emergence of Carlos Alcaraz. The 20-year-old Spaniard, with a ripped torso and sinewy forearms, whose delicate drop shots and booming forehands had tennis aficionados quipping: “Djokovic finally has some competition.” Alcaraz lived up to his big-match billing after he quelled bete noire Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.
Carlos Alcaraz


Photo: Reuters

First Published: Dec 29 2023 | 12:20 AM IST

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