2022: Year of Individual Brilliance in Indian Sports
New Delhi, December 31, 2022
2022 was the year of individual brilliance in Indian sports with athlete Neeraj Chopra, boxer Nikhat Zareen, shuttlers P V Sindhu, Lakshya Sen, table tennis star Sharath Kamal and weightlifter Mirabhai Chanu, among others, showcasing their talent on the world stage.
In the team events, badminton was the biggest success story while cricket and men’s hockey and football had mixed fortunes.
It was on 15th May that the Indian badminton team created history when against all odds they won the Thomas Cup. It was only the 13th time India had qualified in 32 editions.
India defeated powerhouses like Malaysia and Denmark on way to the final and in the summit clash they stunned 14-time champions Indonesia 3-0 to become only the sixth team in the world after China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and Denmark to win this team championship.
This year, for the first time, India hosted the 44th edition of the Chess Olympiad, which has a history of 98 years. As many as 350 teams from participated in this chess competition held in Chennai.
As the year closed, Women’s Hockey team did the country proud by winning the Inaugural FIH Nations Cup. India won all three of their group matches in the eight-nation tourney to make the semis, where they pipped Ireland via shootout. In the final, they beat Spain 1-0.
Earlier, the women ended the 16-year medal wait by clinching the bronze in Birmingham Commonwealth Games, beating New Zealand 2-1 in a penalty shootout.
In cricket, India Juniors beat England by 4 wickets in the Under-19 World Cup final. This is the only title won by Team India in any ICC tournament in the last two years.
Debutant Gujarat Titans, led by Hardik Pandya created history by winning the Indian Premier League (IPL) title.
On the other hand, the BCCI took a landmark decision by announcing pay parity for women cricketers. All women cricketers contracted with the board will be paid the same match fee paid to their male counterparts across the three formats
At the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Indians stole the thunder finishing fourth on the leader board with 61 medals, 22 Gold, 16 silvers and 23 bronze.
This showing becomes more creditable as shooting, a sport in which India has won a major chunk of medals in these Games till date, was not included and star Neeraj Chopra missed the event due to injury.
The big success story was steeplechaser Avinash Sable, who clocked a national record time to finish with a silver in the 3000m steeplechase, sandwiched between two Kenyans.
Murali Sreeshankar won India’s first silver medal in men’s long jump while Eldhose Paul bagged his maiden triple jump gold at CWG 2022 after pipping compatriot Abdulla Aboobacker for the country’s first-ever 1-2 finish at the Games.
The Women's Lawn Bowls team cornered glory by clinching an unexpected gold, India's first-ever medal in the sport.
Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra hogged the limelight at the World Championships and Diamond League. He clinched a silver at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, only the second medal for India at the world championships since Anju Bobby George’s long jump bronze in 2003 at Paris.
Neeraj then put up a stellar performance at the Diamond League. After finishing second in the Stockholm meet with his current personal best, an 89.94m throw, and first in the Lausanne leg, he a made the Diamond League Final in Zurich. A stellar showing at the Swiss city saw him become the first Indian to win a Diamond League trophy.
In football, 38-year-old Sunil Chhetri was named the AIFF Men's Footballer of the Year for 2021-22. This is the seventh time he won this award.
Nikhat Zareen won the Women's World Boxing Championships in Istanbul in May to become only the fifth Indian woman world champion after MC Mary Kom, Laishram Sarita Devi, Jenny RL and Lekha K. C. She also won a gold medal at the CWG.
In badminton it was after 13 years and two failed attempts that PV Sindhu managed to win the CWG gold.
Badminton’s new poster boy Lakshya Sen had a hugely successful year. Besides winning the maiden Super-500 title and two world tour titles, he won the gold medal at the CWG and the bronze medal at World Championships
Mirabai Chanu won the silver medal at the World Weightlifting championship in Bogota,. She secured her second world championships medal with a 200 kg effort. She had won gold in the 2017 World Championships.
Veteran Sharath Kamal dominated the table tennis event at the CWG, winning three gold and a silver medal for India.
In cricket, Virat Kohli ended his century drought scoring it against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup. In the T20 World Cup against Pakistan India were 31/4. But Kohli lifted the team to victory with a stunning 82.
On the penultimate day of the year, young cricketer Rishab Pant met with a car accident and suffered injuries but fortunately, as per the doctors, he is out of danger.