The World Athletics Day was introduced by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in order to increase awareness about athletics as well as to encourage the youth to take up sports. This World Athletics Day, here in this article we take a look at a number of Indian athletes who left an indelible imprint on Indian sports as well left a mark on the world stage.
P. T. Usha
She is still synonymous with Indian athletics. The track athlete forced the nation to sit up and take notice back at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. A 20-year-old Usha scripted history when she reached the finals of the 400m race, but then, she lost out on the bronze medal by one-hundredth of a second!
Better known as the Flying Sikh, he won independent India’s first Commonwealth Games Gold medal in 1958. He was in peak form when he came to Rome for the 1960 Games, however, he missed out on the bronze medal by just 0.1 second. Milkha Singh then went on to win the Asian 400m title and the 4×400 relay gold two years later.
Norman Pritchard, in 1900s, became the first Indian to win an Olympic medal. He won two silver medals in 200m sprint and 200m hurdles. Now, historians still maintain that Pritchard represented the British, but the IOC labels Pritchard as India’s first Olympic medal winner.
Anju Bobby George
Anju Bobby George scripted history at the 2003 World Championships in Paris when she won the bronze medal in long jump. In doing so, she became the first Indian athlete to win a medal at the Worlds. She then went on to win the silver at the World Athletics final in 2005 and this was then upgraded to gold as Tatyana Kotova failed the drug test.
Annu scripted history in Doha in October 2019 as she became the first Indian woman to enter the javelin throw final at the World Championships, but she could only finish eighth.
Deepa Malik is another inspiration as she became the first Indian woman to win a Paralympics medal when she bagged the silver medal in the shot put in Rio in 2016. She has been conferred with Arjuna and Padma Shri.