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Sports in 2021: That Was The Year That Was Sports in 2021
Images: IBNS Archives / Official FBs / Wikipedia

Sports in 2021: That Was The Year That Was

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 28 Dec 2021, 02:11 pm

Indian athlete Neeraj Chopra is the flavour of the year as he created history in 2021 winning the Gold Medal in Javelin throwing event in the Olympics. On the front of cricket, there was a change of guard as Virat Kohli stepped down as white ball skipper to be replaced by Rohit Sharma. Supriyo Hazra looks back

 
Olympics and Paralympics:

2020 witnessed the postponement of several major sporting events across the world due to COVID-19. The Olympics was one such major showpiece event that was shifted to 2021 and Tokyo will remain a turning point in Indian sporting history as athletes shined significantly in the field  bringing laurels. While the Olympics witnessed Indian athletes making a  mark in the  by clinching medals, the paralympics saw the tri-colour flying even higher as the athletes kept winning one medal after the other.

 
Neeraj Chopra: India found its new golden boy when Neeraj Chopra clinched the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the javelin throwing event. He became only the second Indian after Abhinav Bindra to win an Individual gold medal for the country in the world's highest sporting event.

Avani Lekhara: India's golden girl Avani won the yellow medal in Tokyo Paralympics. In fact the Indian shooter won two medals in the major sporting event of the year. Apart from winning the gold medal in the 10m air rifle SH-1 championship, she also clinched a bronze medal in the 50m 3 position SH-1 event. She became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Paralympics.

 
Sumit Antil: If Neeraj made it happen in the  Olympics, then Sumit created a dream for Indian athletes as he won gold in the men's javelin throw F64 category in the Paralympics.

 
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu: Young Chanu finally ended India's long wait for a weightlifting medal when she won a silver at the Tokyo Olympics. Karnam Malleswari had won a bronze medal in the 2000 Olympics.

 
Lovlina Borgohain: Boxer  Lovlina Borgohain won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Krishna Nagar:  Krishna Nagar created history in the Tokyo Paralympics when he won  a gold medal in the men's singles SL6 category.

Suhas Yathiraj:  Suhas Yathiraj remained yet another bright spot in the Paralympics as he clinched the  silver medal in the men's singles badminton SL4 event.

Sharad Kumar: Young  Sharad Kumar won the bronze medal at the men's high jump event at the Paralympics.

 
Ravi Kumar Dahiya: Ravi Kumar Dahiya became the second wrestler after Sushil Kumar to win a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Nishad Kumar: Nishad Kumar made the country proud as he won the silver medal at the men's high jump T47 event in the Tokyo Paralympics.

Manish Narwal: Narwal brought laurels for the country as he  grabbed the gold medal for India at the Tokyo Paralympics in the mixed 50m Pistol SH1 event.

 Yogesh Kathuniya:  Yogesh Kathuniya was another shining spot in the Indian athlete list who participated in the Paralympic Games as the discus thrower clinched a silver medal at the major sporting event of the year.

Devendra Jhajharia: Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia made India proud by bringing home a silver medal.

Bhavina Patel: Young Bhavina Patel created history in the games by winning the silver medal  in the women’s individual Class 4 Table Tennis event of the Paralympics.

Mariyappan Thangavelu: Tokyo Paralympics witnessed several Indian players making a mark and one among them was Mariyappan Thangavelu as he won the silver medal in the men's High Jump T63.

 
PV Sindhu: India's badminton sensation ended the 2020 Tokyo Olympics campaign by winning a bronze medal. She had grabbed the silver in the Rio 2016 event.

Bajrang Punia: Veteran Bajrang Punia won the bronze medal at the Olympics to make India proud in this edition of the sporting event. Competing in the men's 65kg freestyle wrestling category, Punia defeated  Kazakhstan’s Daulet Niyazbekov in the bronze medal match.
 
 Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen: In badminton, the last month of the year saw a historic World Championships silver for Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth while Lakshya Sen settled for bronze after losing to the former in the semifinal.  Kidambi Srikanth  became the first Indian man to win a silver medal at the BWF World Championships though Singapore's Loh Kean Yew beat him in the summit clash.

Hockey: Ending the 40-year drought, the Indian hockey team made the nation proud by winning a bronze medal in the Olympics by beating Germany 5-4 in a thriller. It was India's first Olympic medal since the Moscow Games in 1980.  

Cricket:

Australian Milestone:

The Indian cricket team started the year with a bang as a young Indian side, which was hit by injuries, and under the leadership of Ajinkya Rahane beat Australia on their home turf to clinch the Test series 2-1. India had started the tournament with a poor show as they were bowled out for 36 runs in the second innings of the Pink Ball Test that was played in Adelaide. Virat Kohli led the squad in the Pink Ball Test. However, he returned home to give time to his family as actress wife Anushka Sharma was about to give birth to their first child Vamika at that point of time.

 
T20 World Cup shocker:

India crashed out of the T20 World Cup, which was played in the UAE this year due to COVID-19 situation and shifting from India, from the group stage of the event, leaving the cricket frenzy nation in a shock. India received a blow in their opening match of the tournament when Pakistan beat Virat Kohli and his men by 10 wickets. Following a defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the next match, an exit from the tournament was all that the men's team were waiting for. Australia defeated New Zealand in the final match to win the T20 World Cup for the first time in the history of the showpiece tournament.

 
Virat Kohli exits:

Even before the T20 World Cup started, Virat Kohli had announced his decision to resign as the skipper in the shortest format citing his workload.

He also announced that he will no longer serve as the skipper of Indian Premier League squad Royal Challengers Bangalore.

However, Kohli received a jolt when he was removed as the skipper of the ODI squad and Rohit was named as his replacement for the South Africa series.

A widespread controversy kickstarted after the Indian selectors removed Kohli as ODI captain.

Facing the backlash mostly from Kohli's fans on social media, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said Kohli was asked not to leave the T20 captaincy.

As Kohli went on to quit the T20 captaincy, the board, as Ganguly said, went on to appoint Sharma as the ODI skipper to have a single leader in the limited overs game.

 
Rahul Dravid begins coaching era:

Indian fans were elated when Rahul Dravid, one of the champions to play the game for India, was appointed as the coach of the Indian team after the T20 World Cup. The sports event remained the last tournament where Ravi Shastri served as the coach of the 'Men In Blue'.

Rahul and Rohit Sharma teamed up to take the charge of the Indian squad following the T20 campaign and successfully won the T20 series against New Zealand.

Virat Kohli and his men were once again back in the Test series with a bang as they defeated the Kiwis in the longest format of the game. Expectations are high from Dravid to prove his efficiency as the coach in the upcoming months.

World Test Championship jolt:

Virat Kohli's hope to emerge victorious in the mega Test cricket event of the year in London received a massive setback when dominant New Zealand beat India in the first World Test Championship to win the inaugural event.

AB retires:

AB de Villiers, who had served as South African skipper in his illustrious career, announced his retirement from all forms of the game in November.

 
IPL: CSK shine again:

Played in two parts due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in India, Indian Premier League title went to Chennai Super Kings this year as skipper MS Dhoni continued his dominance in the popular tournament. After being played initially in India, the tournament was shifted to the UAE amid a spike in cases.
 

Football:

Copa: Argentine shines:

Argentina under the leadership of Lionel Messi, beat arch-rival Brazil to win the 2020 Copa América. It was the country's first Copa win since 1993.

Euro 2020: Italy returns with a bang:

Fans returned to the stadium after a pause due to COVID-19 pandemic as Euro 2020 remained a massively successful event of the year. Italy, a nation which had missed the World Cup after failing to qualify, did not leave fans unhappy as they beat England to win the title.

Messi leaves Barcelona:

Ending his 18-year-old romance with Barcelona, Lionel Messi left the club with teary eyes to later join Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronaldo returns to his boyhood club:

Christiano Ronaldo also made a change to his club dreams as he joined Manchester United after leaving Juventus. Ronaldo had once played for Manchester United in the earlier days of his playing career.

Tennis:

 
 
Novak Djokovic: The King of the court

Serbian Novak Djokovic remained a bright spot in the world of Tennis this year when he won  the Australian Open, the French Open and the Wimbledon titles by showcasing his tough and classic skills on the court.

 

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