The 2018 year was full of action-packed sporting events for India. From recording their best-ever performance at the Asian Games to ace shuttler PV Sindhu becoming the first Indian woman to win the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals, 2018 has been a year to cherish for the sports lovers.
A number of women athletes also waved the tri-colour high in 2018, showing that the sporting future of the country is in the right hands.
As the end of 2018 is approaching, let us have a look back at some of the major sporting events that defined the year.
Asian Games 2018
India headed into the 2018 edition of the prestigious tournament with a strong 524-member contingent, featuring 277 men and 247 women athletes from a total of 36 sports disciplines. And the athletes did not disappoint as the country bettered their 2010 performance and signed off with the best-medal haul in their Asian Games history, making an eighth place finish with 69 medals, including 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze in Jakarta, Indonesia.
India’s standout performance came in the athletics field as the contingent finished with a total of 19 medals (7 gold, 10 silver, 2 bronze) in athletics. Shooters were the second-best for India, signing off with nine medals.
The country’s historic gold in athletics came from Neeraj Chopra (Javelin Throw), Arpinder Singh (triple jump) and Swapna Barman (Women's heptathlon).
While Neeraj Chopra continued his impressive run in 2018 to hand the country their first-ever medal in javelin throw, Arpinder bagged first men's triple jump gold in 48 years at the Asiad. Barman also clinched the first-ever yellow metal for the country in her field.
Meanwhile, Jinson Johnson won gold to hand the country first medal in men’s 100 m event since 1998 Games, when Bahadur Prasad bagged a bronze.
While Saurabh Chaudhary (gold, men’s 10m air pistol), Lakshay Sheoran (silver, men’s trap) and Shardul Vihan (silver, men’s double trap) also waved the national flag high by winning medals in their respective events, Rahi Sarnobat (women’s 25m pistol) became the first Indian woman to win gold at the Asian Games.
In wrestling, Vinesh Phogat—one of India’s biggest hopes for an Olympic medal—became the first woman wrestler from the country to pick a yellow metal at the prestigious games.
India’s biggest disappointment at the Asiad 2018 came when the men’s hockey team had to settle with a bronze medal after going down against arch-rivals Pakistan in the group stage.
The prestigious tournament ended on a brilliant note for India, with two of the best singles’ women shuttlers PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal making podium finishes.
While PV Sindhu took home silver in women’s singles badminton after going down to Tai Tzu Ying in the final, Nehwal settled for bronze at the Asian Games 2018.
Commonwealth Games 2018
India made their 18th appearance in the prestigious event, which took place at Gold Coast, Australia in April. The country, who went Down Under with a stronghold 216-member contingent from 15 sports disciplines, finished at the third position among 71 countries. The total medal tally of 66 medals, including 26 gold medals, was India’s best figures since 2010.
India’s standout performance was in the shooting field. Out of 16 medals won, seven were gold. The country made their best-ever finish at Gold Coast in Table Tennis, capping off with a total of eight medals with Manika Batra handing four of them.
The major disappointment of the Commonwealth Games was when the Manpreet Singh-led men’s hockey team failed to repeat the silver medal they won at Glasgow 2014 and settled for the bronze in 2018.The women’s hockey team, meanwhile, failed to bring home a medal after making a fourth-place finish.
However, the most memorable moment for India was a mouth-watering final clash between compatriots PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal in the women’s singles badminton event. Eventually, Nehwal picked the gold while Sindhu had to settle for the silver.
Asian Para Games 2018
Just like Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, India continued their impressive performance at the Asian Para Games as well as they made their best-ever ninth-place finish out of 43 nations with a total of 72 medals.The medal haul comprised of five gold, 24 silver and 33 bronze.
PV Sindhu claims maiden BWF World Tour Finals Title
2018 was an amazing year for Rio Olympic medallist PV Sindhu as she bagged silver medals at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships besides also making runner-up finishes at Thailand Open and India Open. Sindhu scripted history by becoming the first female player from the country to clinch a silver in badminton at the Asiad. Not only this, the Hyderabadi shuttler also scooped two titles—a gold in the mixed team event of the Commonwealth Games and a historic medal at the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, China.
Mary Kom clinches gold in World Boxing Championship
Indian boxer Mary Kom once again showed that age would not be able to slow her down as she added another feather on her hat by winning a record-equalling sixth gold at World Boxing Championship in November. The 35-year-old pugilist scripted history by defeating Ukraine's Hanna Okhota via a unanimous decision in the finals of the 48kg light flyweight category event of the tournament. With a record sixth gold medal, Kom also surpassed Ireland's Katie Taylor--who has five titles in her tally.The Manipuri boxer also equalled the record of Cuban legend Felix Savon as the joint most successful boxer (Men and Women) in the history of World Championships.
Hima Das scripts history
Sprinter Hima Das made the country proud by becoming the first Indian woman to strike a gold medal at an International Association of Athletics Federations. The Assamese athlete completed 400 metres relay in 51.46 seconds to clinch the title at the World U-20 Athletics Championships. She also settled for a silver at the Asian Games after posting a national record of 50.79 seconds in the 400m final.
Bajrang Punia becomes World No.1
Star wrestler Bajrang Punia had a near-perfect 2018 year as he achieved a career-best ranking of world number one in the world in the 65kg category. He reached the milestone after picking up five medals this season, including gold at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games and a silver at the World Championship.
Dipa Karmakar strikes gold at Gymnastics World Cup
One of the country’s leading gymnasts, Dipa Karmakar, scripted history in July when she became the first Indian woman to claim a gold in the vault event of the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup at Mersin, Turkey.Besides this, Dipa also bagged a bronze medal at the vault event of of the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in Cottbus, Germany in November.