While cricketers and footballers may keep our minds preoccupied at all times, we tend to forget the existence of many more athletes who ventured into sports, we as Indians consider unconventional.
From surfing to squash to wrestling, these Indian athletes have dared to stray from popular sports to carve their own place in the sports arena.
Sharing with us their experiences, their joys and their achievements on Instagram, these are some athletes who we may not know, but definitely deserve to!
Not only is Ishita one of the first Indian women to take up surfing, she has also achieved much more outside the waters too. She is the Co-Founder of The Shaka Surf Club, a premier surf therapy program located in Southern California.
Not only has she conquered the waves and popularize the sport, but has also amassed 10k followers on Instagram.
Cricket, yes. Not a sport but a religion. A sport dominated by men; but not for Arjuna award and Padma Shri recipient, Mithali Raj, one of the most popular and successful women cricketers all over the world.
She is the captain of the Indian Women’s Cricket team, and holds the record for the all time top scorer for India in all three formats of the game.
23 year old Jayesh Rane has accomplished more than most young men his age. A forward by position, he plays for Chennayin FC in the Indian Super League and has represented India internationally for the under-23 squad.
A professional wrestler, she won India’s first Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and is the first ever Indian woman wrestler to have qualified for the Olympics.
A multiple medal winner with the Indian Hockey team and was the youngest players to captain the Indian team, and was awarded the Padma Shri for his performances on the hockey pitch.
Sardara Singh is one of the most successful hockey players from India to have won multiple honours.
A fourteen time National Badminton Champion, Jwala Gutta also holds the title of the country’s most successful doubles’ specialist. She has won titles at all major Badminton championships and tournaments.
A powerful shuttler on the court, Jwala has also been involved in social causes such as women empowerment, health, education and gender equality while being a social media buff too.
The only Indian athlete to win two individual Olympic Medals, Sushil Kumar is one of the most well known wrestlers in India. He has an Olympic Silver and Bronze medal to his name.
A recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Sushil Kumar has overcome a lot of struggles to be one of the most celebrated Indian athletes ever.
A household name today, it was Saina’s dedication and tireless hard work that has made it possible. Saina Nehwal is the former World number one, and has consistently maintained her Top ten ranking since 2009.
The only female Indian badminton player from India to have achieved the World number one rank, Saina has been conferred with Padma Bhushan, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, and the Arjuna award.
A gold medallist at the Asian Games, Shiva was also one of the youngest Indian boxers to qualify for the Olympics. He is currently ranked third in the Bantamweight category of the AIBA Men’s World Rankings.
The son of an autorickshaw driver, Pranav Dhanawade broke a 116 year old record when he overcame difficulties to become the highest individual scorer in an officially recognized match. Scoring 1009 runs, he was congratulated by Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and felicitated by the Maharashtra government.
Their Instagram shows not only how grounded they are, but will leave you inspired to the core. Take a look.