Name: Aditi Chauhan
Date of Birth: 20th November, 1992
Aditi is a women’s footballer who is the Goalkeeper and Vice-Captain of the Indian National Team. She also played for West Ham Ladies in the UK in the past. She started out as a basketball player before being convinced by her coach to give trials as a goalkeeper. She represented Delhi at the U19 level at 15 years of age. She has completed her Master’s in Sports Management from Loughborough University and has started her own football academy focussing on training girls called She Kicks Football Academy.
- First Indian female to play for a professional club
- Became the first Indian woman to win the ‘Woman in Football’ award at the 2015 Asian Awards
Name: Niranjan Mukundan
Events: 50m Butterfly, 200m Individual Medley
Date of Birth: 4th September, 1994
Niranjan hails from a middle-class family in Bangalore. Born with a medical condition called Spina bifida and with clubbed feet, he has undergone as many as sixteen surgeries already. The ever-smiling Bangalore boy is also a motivational speaker and has given multiple TED Talks.He was part of the 2014 Asian Games bronze medal winning team and followed that up with record breaking performances at the 2015 IWAS World Junior Games. He has recently qualified for the Para Swimming World Championships, while setting an Asian record in the process.
- Forbes 30 under 30 for Asia (Sports & Entertainment category)
- Bronze medal in 2014 Asian Games in 4X100 IM
- Gold medal in Para Swimming World Series 2019 in 200m IM
Name: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran
Sport: Table Tennis
Date of Birth: 8th January, 1993
A former National Champion, Sathiyan was introduced to his sport by his mother as a mode to remain active and stay fit. In 2017, Sathiyan won a Bronze Medal at the Thailand Open and then clinched the Men’s team Gold medal at the Asian Championships. He was part of the Indian team that won team gold and made history at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, and won a couple of individual medals as well. He then went on to captain his team Dabangg Smashers to victory in the second season of the Ultimate Table Tennis League in 2018. He is the highest ranked Indian player ever, with a ranking of 24. He is also an Engineer by education, having completed his studies while playing professionally.
- Gold medal (Team), silver medal (Men’s Doubles), and bronze medal (Mixed Doubles) at the 2018 Commonwealth Games
- Men’s team Gold medal – Asian Championships 2017
- Arjuna Award Winner
Name: Subramanian Raman – Table Tennis Coach
Starting at the age of 13, Raman learnt the basics of table tennis from V.Ramachandran. His first impression was made in the sport by Bro. Savari Antony, sports head and a left-handed TT player. A. Srinivasa Rao and Muralidhara Rao then coached him. Raman won the first-ever Commonwealth Gold for India at the Commonwealth Championships—held at Glasgow, Scotland—in Men’s Doubles partnering with his compatriot Chetan Baboor in 1997, and repeated the feat in the next edition in 1999. Raman represented India for more than a decade with many International medals. Raman represented India at the Sydney Olympics 2000. He has now moved onto coaching the next generation of Indian Table Tennis players.
- India’s first ever Commonwealth Gold at Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships in 1997 and 1999
- Arjuna Award Winner
Name: Hima Das
Date of Birth: 9th January 2000 (19 years)
Assamese sprint sensation Hima Das burst into the spotlight after winning India’s first-ever track medal at the IAAF U-20 World Championships. From humble beginnings at her father’s rice fields in Dhing , all the way to the sprint tracks of Tampere in Finland, to making history by finishing first in the 400m event clocking in a time of 51.46 seconds at the 2018 Asian Games.
This 19 year old continued her sprint in breaking various records and through the past year has participated across 20 different competitions representing India on the global platform. Hima’s story is truly a remarkable one, befitting her the moniker – ‘The Dhing Express’.
Name: Neeraj Chopra
Date of Birth: 24th December 1997 (21 years)
Young achiever – 21 year old Neeraj Chopra is an Indian track and field athlete, who competes in the javelin throw event. He has represented India at the 2018 Asian Games and CWG 2018, where he won a gold medal, setting the national record of 88.06 m in the former and followed up with a gold medal in the latter. Neeraj also broke the junior world record in 2016, on his way to clinching the gold in the 2016 IAAF U20 World Championships.
“When the desire for success does not let you sleep, when nothing feels good except hard work, when you don’t get exhausted after relentless work, know that history is in the making.“ is what Neeraj lives by.
Name: Amit Kumar Saroha
Event: F1 category in Discus and Club Throw
Date of Birth: 12th January 1985 (35 years)
A Paralympian and an Arjuna Awardee, Amit Kumar Saroha was a national level hockey player before he suffered a car accident at the age of 22. His tryst with fame as a sportsperson post his injury was after he met with Jonathan Sigworth, an American wheelchair rugby player who introduced Amit to the world of para sports and he joined Sigworth to promote wheelchair rugby across India.
Upon meeting other para-athletes, Amit realized his injury placed him in F51 category for para-sports. He finished 4th at the 2016 Rio Paralympics in the Club Throw event, narrowly missing out on a medal. He also witnessed some of his protégés Rinku, Dharambir and Ram pal, display commendable performances at the Games.
Amit also boasts of two World Championship silver medals, won in 2015 and 2017. In the 2017 event, he threw a personal best of 30.25m, which broke the Asian record and a gold medalist from the Asian Para Games last year.
Name: Manish Singh Rawat
Event: 20k and 50k
Date of Birth: 5th May 1991 (28 years)
Manish comes from a very humble background, growing up in the hills of Uttarakhand. Manish would walk 7 km to school every day through the mountain trail, and this prepped him in his journey during his initial years. He would participate in several running races in school and his visionary coach suggested he take up racewalking seriously, given that his daily commute offered plenty of opportunity for practice.
Today, Manish is one of India’s top race walkers. Primarily a short distance race walker, Manish qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics in his forte; the 20km event, in April 2015. At the Rio Olympics 2016, Manish finished a commendable 13th in the 20km race walking category. Post Rio, he competed at the 2017 IAAF Race Walking Challenge in China and finished 6th ahead of World Championships and Olympics medallists. He has also played a major role in spreading the sport in Uttrakhand, at the recently concluded Junior Federation Cup, 3 of the top 4 male racewalkers were from the state.
Name: Renedy Singh
Date of Birth: 20th June 1979 (40 Years)
Potsangbam Renedy Singh or just Renedy Singh is a former player and captain of the Indian National team. He has previously played for Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, EverReady SA and JCT FC, and is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders/free-kick specialists to ever play for India.
Since the age of 10, Renedy dreamt of becoming a professional footballer contrary to his father ’s wishes, who wanted him to become an officer in the Indian Army. Hailing from the state of Manipur, it was his zeal and fire to fight against all odds that saw him come to Kolkata for the U-12 trials, where he got selected to play in the famous TATA Football Academy in Jamshedpur and the rest is history.
Renedy went on to make 72 appearances for India scoring 12 goals. His most notable moment in an Indian jersey came in the 2009 Nehru Cup Final where he scored a spectacular free-kick in extra time against the tournament favourites Syria.
He is currently a renowned football pundit and has recently launched his own football academy – Renedy Football School in Imphal, Manipur.
Name: Nima Doma Bhutia
Age: 24 years
24 year old Nima is the first woman from the North-East to have made it to the Indian Women’s National Basketball team. She participated in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying tournament from 14th – 17th November in Malaysia.
Born in West Sikkim’s Tashiding Village, Nima was among the first batch of girls to pick up basketball at Eklavya Model Residential School, Gangyap. It was school principal Sidharth Yonzone, a huge NBA fan, who introduced the game to his students. After playing on a small mud court, Nima and her teammates carved out a proper court with their bare hands. All of this hard work translated into spectacular triumphs for the ‘Girls of Gangyap’, with EMRS winning the CBSE National School Championship twice, in 2011 and ‘13, beating powerhouse teams.
After school, Nima joined the Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education in Gwalior where she is currently pursuing a Master ’s in Physical Education. Moving to Gwalior gave her the opportunity to compete in the National Championships and eventually get selected for the senior India camp. After attending 4 camps, she was finally selected in the team this November.
Nima’s story is truly inspirational. Her journey has now paved the path for other players from the North-East who have often been dismissed for their lack of height.
Name: Ngangom Bala Devi
Date of Birth: 2nd February 1990 (30 years)
Ngangom Bala Devi is a 30-year-old football player from the state of Manipur, who plays as a forward for the Indian National Women’s Team. She currently plays in the Scottish Women’s Premier League for a club called Rangers. She is also a former captain of the National team with 46 caps for India in various levels. She boasts one of the most prolific goal-scoring records in Indian women’s football, scoring 91 goals in 74 appearances for club and country.
Born in Manipur, Devi grew up playing the game with mainly boys. She represented India at the age of 15 and has been part of the senior side since 2005.
In November 2019, Devi was offered a week long trial at Scottish Premiere League 1 club Rangers FC. Securing a contract with Rangers would make her the first ever women’s player from India to play abroad professionally. Following the trial, she was part of the Indian team in the South Asia Games 2019 and scored a brace in the finals to help India win the gold medal against hosts Nepal.
Name: Dipa Karmakar
Sport: Artistic Gymnastics
Date of Birth: 9th August 1993
Khel Ratna and Padma Shri Awardee, Dipa is the first Indian femaly gymnast to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games and at the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships. Her greatest achievement is probably finishing 4th at the Rio Olympics in 2016 where she performed the death-defying Produnova vault to perfection. In 2018, she became the first Indian gymnast to win a gold medal at a FIG Global event when she won the FIG World Challenge Cup in Turkey.
Dipa started practicing gymnastics at the age of 6 under the tutelage of Soma Nandi and Bisheshwar Nandi. As a 17 year old she was included in the Indian contingent for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. She has grown from strength to strength since then and has been an inspiration for all young gymnasts in India.
At the ongoing Khelo India Youth Games, Priyanka Dasgupta from Tripura, who considers Dipa to be her idol, won 4 gold medals in Artistic Gymnastics.
Name: Karnam Malleswari
Date of Birth: 1st June 1975
Khel Ratna and Padma Shri Awardee, Karnam Malleswari is the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Olympics. She remains the only Indian weightlifter to win a medal at the Olympics.
She hails from a small town in Andhra Pradesh, where her and her 4 sisters all trained in weightlifting from a young age. She moved to Delhi with her sister and was spotted by SAI officials there. She joined the national camp in 1990 and within 4 years won the world championship in the 54kg category. She followed this with another world championship gold in 1995.
In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, women’s weightlifting was introduced for the first time and Karnam did not let go of this opportunity by winning a bronze in the 69kg category.
She has started her foundation recently which is working across sports, women empowerment, rural development and health.
Name: Manoj Sarkar
Sport: Para Badminton (SL3 Category)
Date of Birth: 12th Jan 1990
Arjuna awardee and former world number 1 is a true flagbearer for the sport of para-badminton in India. He hails from the town of Rudrapur in Uttrakhand, and in 2019 was awarded the Uttrakhand Khel Ratna Award by the state government.
Manoj’s first major international medal came at the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon where he won a silver in the men’s singles event. Since then, he has been a regular medallist at global stage winning multiple medals in Para-Badminton World Championships and Para-Badminton Asian Championships. He also won two bronze medals at the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta.
He has also played an important role in the growth of the sport, as he coaches youngsters in his hometown. One such youngster is Chirag Baretha who has recently been included in the Indian national para-badminton team. Manoj has played a critical role in his development and has guided him along the way.
Name: Dutee Chand
Sport: Athletics (100m and 200m)
Date of Birth: 3rd Feb 1996
Dutee is the only Indian woman to qualify for the Olympics in the 100m event. She has also won medals at the Asian Games, Asian Athletics Championships and the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships. In 2019, she became the first Indian woman to win gold in the 100m event at the Summer Universiade.
In 2014, she was dropped from the Indian contingent for the CWG and Asian Games as the AFI ruled that hyperandrogenism ruled her ineligible to compete as a female athlete. She appealed the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The ruling found that there was a lack of evidence provided that testosterone increased female athletic performance. This effectively removed the suspension of Chand from competition, clearing her to race again.
In 2019 she became India’s first ever openly LGBTQ+ athlete as she publicly stated that she is in a same-sex relationship.