Bharat - Land Of Talents, Genius And Master Sports Personalities

Shri RaviKumar
RSS Sampark Vibhag

August 29 is the National Sports Day. It is the birth day of one of the greatest sports genius of the world, Dhyan Chand. (29 Aug 1905 – 3 Dec 1979). 

Indian culture and heritage is older and richer than rest of the world. It is the birth place of the best in many fields such as architecture, astrology, astronomy, economics, mathematics, politics, town planning, and may more. Games have been a part of this rich culture since the dawn of history. Lord Shiv and his consort Parvati played Pachisi, Ravana played chess with wife Mandodari, the Pandavas lost Draupadi over a game of dice and Jija Mata played chess with Shivaji to inspire him to capture Fort Simhagad. Games and sports have always played an important role in the history and mythology of India. 

It is noticeable that many of today's Olympic disciplines are sophisticated versions of the games of strength and speed that flourished in ancient India. Throughout history Indians were expected to be competent in war games like chariot-racing, horsemanship, Polo, archery (Dhanur Vidhya), hammer-throwing, Javelin (trishul) throwing, discus (Sudarshan Chakra) throwing, wrestling (Malla Yudhha), Boxing (Mushti Yudhha), weight-lifting, kho-kho, kabaddi, swimming and hunting. These games are now very much part of Olympics and International sporting events. Kung-Fu, judo, karate, Thai kick boxing are later versions of Indian Niyudha (Nis-Shastra Yudha) or Martial Arts and Hockey is the modified version of Indian Polo. Many of these games first spread to Asian countries where ancient Hindus had established Hindu empires since 300 BCE till 15th century. Later these games spread to the rest of the world. The popularity of Chess and cards is increasing rapidly all over the world. 

Gilli danda, top spinning and kite flying are accepted as native games in many Asian countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. 

Atharva Veda contains some well-defined values like," Duty is in my right hand and the fruits of victory in my left" which bears the same sentiments as the traditional Olympic oath: ".......For the Honour of my Country and the Glory of Sport". 


Abhimanyu, Agastya, Arjun, Balaram, Bhim, Duryodhan, Ganesh, Hanuman, Jambavan, Jarasandh, Kali, Kartikey, Krishna, Pandavas, Parashuram and Shivji; 

NOTABLE WOMEN PRACTITIONERS OF INDIAN MARTIAL ARTS: Unniyarcha of Kerala, Rani Abbakka and Onake Obavva of Karnataka, Rani Velu Nachiyar of Tamilnadu, Rani Tarabai of Maharashtra, Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi and Bibi Dalair Kaur of Punjab; 

NOTABLE PRACTITIONERS OF INDIAN MARTIAL ARTS: Siddhartha Gautama of Nepal, Vajrapani of Mahayana Buddhism, Bodhidharma of Kanchipuram, Guru Hargobind of Punjab, Shivaji Maharaj of Maharashtra, Maruthu Pandiyar of Tamilnadu, Harihara and Krishna Deva Raya of Karnataka; 

POPULARISING ANCIENT INDIAN MARTIAL ARTS IN RECENT TIMES: Dara Singh, Guru Hanuman, Jatindra Charan Guho, Jasmine Simhalan, Phogat sisters, Sakshi Malik, and Vidyut Jamwal. 


Many Games played in Olympics and modern sporting events today are sophisticated
versions of strength and speed games and war games that flourished in ancient Bharat. 



Murlikant Petkar of Sangli, Maharashtra, is India's first Oympic gold medallist. He won an individual gold medal in the 1972 Summer Paralympics, in Heidelberg, Germany with several Pakistani bullets in his body. He was disabled during the 1965 war against Pakistan, sustaining severe bullet wounds. He set a world record in the 50 m freestyle swimming event, at 37.33 seconds. In the same games he participated in javelin, precision javelin throws and slalom. He was a finalist in all three events. In 2018, he was awarded with the Padma Shri after a long wait of 45 years. Petkar thanked cricketer Rahul Dravid, Abhinav Bindra and others at the GO Sports Foundation for their efforts in getting Padma Award. 

ALOK GREWAL – Second Indian to win and lose an Olympic Gold Medal 

Alexi Singh Grewal was the second Indian after Murlidhar Petkar to win an Olympic Gold Medal in 1984 at Los Angeles Olympics. He is the first ever athlete of Indian origin to win an individual gold medal in Olympic Games. He won the tough road race (cycling) at Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984. “I am happy to rediscover my roots,” says Alexi Grewal, who has come to India to make it his second home. 

Son of a poor taxicab driver, Alexi Singh Grewal (born September 8, 1960) is a Punjabi American Olympic gold medalist and former professional road racing cyclist. At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Grewal became the first American man to win an Olympic gold medal in road cycling. He has two brothers, Rishi and Ranjeet, who were also top American cyclists, especially in mountain bike racing. 

In 2004, Grewal was elected to the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame. The United States Bicycling Hall of Fame gave the following description of his Los Angeles gold medal ride: "With an estimated crowd of 300,000 lining the 190.2-kilometer route, Grewal edged Canadian Steve Bauer to claim the gold medal in the men's road race, breaking away from the field with 20 kilometers remaining and opening up a 24-second lead after 11 of 12 laps and then being caught by Bauer with 10 kilometers left, setting up a dramatic final-lap showdown. This scene, replayed many times since, is one of the most emotional Olympic victories of the Modern Games." No doubt Alok Grewal was extraordinarily talented. 

He had planned to bring the gold medal to show to his friends and cyclists in India. But his bag was stolen from New Jersey airport on his way to India and he has not heard about the medal ever since. 

Olympic gold medalist Alexi Singh Grewal has set a new precedent. He married Jabalpur-based Manjit Kaur, a Botanist, to become the first-ever Olympic gold medalist (individual) to get married on the Indian soil. Interestingly the marriage, which was kept a low profile affair, took place on January 9, the day India celebrates Pravasi Bharatiya Divas – a day dedicated to People of Indian Origin. It was on this day that Father of the Indian nation, Mahatma Gandhi, returned home from South Africa. 

Alexi is settled in Jabalpur. He is keen to work and train young Indian cyclists. He is toying with the idea of setting up a cycling academy also. 

DEVENDRA JHAJARIA: only Indian to win two Gold Medals at the Olympics 
Devendra Jhajharia (born 1981) of Churu, Rajasthan, is the first Indian Paralympian to win two gold medals at the Paralypics. He won his first gold in the javelin throw at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, becoming only the second gold medallist at the Paralympics for his country. At the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, he won a second gold medal in the same event, bettering his previous record. 

He hails from Churu District in Rajasthan. At the age of eight, climbing a tree he touched a live electric cable. He received medical attention but the doctors were forced to amputate his left hand. His wife, Manju, is a former nationally ranked kabaddi player; the couple have two children. 

ABHINAV BINDRA, the Fourth Indian to win the Gold Medal in Olympics 

Abhinav Bindra (born 28 September 1982) is the third Indian to win the gold in the 10 metre Air Rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. 

He is the first and only Indian to have held both the World and Olympic titles at the same time, a feat he accomplished by capturing the Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, after having won the gold at the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championships. Bindra also won the Gold Medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. 

Bindra has remarked that he has no talent and his only talent is that he can practise regularly, diligently and honestly. Bindra wants people to look up sports as a serious profession in India. 

In 2014, Abhinav Bindra joined the GoSports Foundation, Bangalore as a member of their board of advisors. In collaboration with the GoSports Foundation, he will also provide support to India's up and coming talented shooters through the Abhinav Bindra Shooting Development Programme. He is the mentor and coach of air rifle shooter Pushan Jain. 

MARIYAPPAN THANGAVELU won the Olympic Gold medal in 2016 
Mariyappan Thangavelu (born 28 June 1995) of Salem, Tamilnadu, won the Gold medal at 2016 Summer Paralympic games held in Rio de Janeiro in the men's high jump T-42 category. On 25 January 2017, Government of India announced "Padma Shri" award for his contribution towards sports. 

Mariyappan was born in a village in Salem district, Tamil Nadu. He was one of six children (four brothers and a sister). His father reportedly abandoned the family early on, and his mother, Saroja, raised her children as a single mother, carrying bricks as a labourer until becoming a vegetable seller, earning ₹100 (US$1.40) a day. At the age of five, Mariyappan suffered permanent disability in his right leg when he was run over by a drunk bus driver while walking to school; the bus crushed his leg below the knee, causing it to become stunted. Despite this setback, he completed secondary schooling; he says, "didn't see myself as different from able-bodied kids." In 2015, he completed a bachelor's degree in business administration from AVS College of Arts and Science. He plans to complete an MBA from the same institution. 

DO YOU KNOW MUKKATTU SEBASTIAN – There may be many more like him 
Mukkattu Sebastian, who hails from Kottayam district in Kerala, said he had kept Rs. 10 million as the cash prize for gold medallists. 

A UAE resident for four decades, Mukkattu Sebastian, runs the Autobahn Car Rental network. Dubai expat gave away cash prizes for Indian Rio Olypic medallists. He gave cash prize of Rs 5 million to silver medal winner P.V.Sindhu and Rs 2.5 million for the bronze medal winner Sakshi Malik. 

“These two girls saved the face of India at Rio. I am so proud of them and wanted to honour them with a cash award,” Sebastian told Gulf News. 

“Everybody is after cricketers in India. Nobody minds other sports stars. After their glorious win, I strongly felt I needed to honour them. They cannot sustain [themselves] just with medals. So, I am giving what I can. I am not a very rich person. But I want to do whatever I can,” said Sebastian, who also owns Mukkadan Plantations in Kerala and Autobahn Car Rentals in Bengaluru. Other Indian expats in the UAE have also joined their compatriots back home in celebrating the victory of the two young women who pulled the nation out of the Games gloom. 

Post a Comment