It’s time to say ‘Goodbye’ to 2018 as we are just few days away from welcoming the New Year. But, to note, the year 2018 has brought India more glory at the international level in different games. It was a bumper year for India in sports as we saw U-19 Men in Blue team led by young Prithvi Shaw script history as they won the U-19 World Cup in New Zealand. During the tournament, we saw many youngsters like Shaw, Shubhman Gill come to the forefront as India won the title for the 4th time. They were among the highlights of the year.
However, not just cricket, India witnessed good performances in other sports like badminton, hockey, table tennis as well. In 2018, we have witnessed players belonging to poor background making their name and grabbing headlines. These players have made difficulties their friends while starving to achieve success mark in their respective fields. Here, we take a look at few Indian stars, who rose to fame against all odds this year.
To taste name and fame at an early stage isn’t that difficult but to maintain it and remain humble at the same point is difficult. Indian cricket’s latest sensation, Prithvi Shaw’s story is a heart-touching one. Playing his international match for India against West Indies, Shaw became the youngest Indian centurion on debut.
Shaw belonged to a decent family in Mumbai. His father had a clothing business. He used to get clothes from Surat and sold them in Mumbai and Thane. Shaw’s father used to accompany him for training at Bandra since the age of 5. They lived in a chawl at Virar and have seen tough situations but he managed to overcome all and make his mark at the international level.
Hanuma Vihari, another new entrant in Team India is grabbing headlines for his performance at domestic level. Vihari was part of India U-19 team which won the 2012 World Cup under captain Unmukt Chand. Vihari lost his father at an early age and it was his mother who supported him by doing her garments business. Vihar, after failing to make a cut at IPL, he used his capabilities in Ranji Trophy and Irani Trophy performance to make the cut.
Once she wanted to be a footballer. Asian Games Gold medalist Hima Das or you can call her ‘Dhing Express’, has come a long way to be an athlete. Hima first grabbed headlines for her historic gold in women’s 400m event at IAAF World U-20 World Championships. Born into a poor family in Assam, Hima has become a poster girl of Indian athletes.
Hima has trained at her father’s rice field and worked hard to get the position she is at present. Winning a medal at Asian Games was indeed a proud moment for Hima and her village.
Daughter of a rickshaw puller from North Bengal, Swapna Barman made everyone proud by winning the gold at heptathlon event at the Asian Games this year. Swapna was born with six toes in both the foot and hence couldn’t find the right shoes. Meanwhile, to make matter worse, Swapna had to compete wearing the normal shoes which was uncomfortable for the athlete. However, this couldn’t stop her from clinching country’s first gold at Asian Games in Heptathlon.
Interesting to note, Swapna was suffering from a toothache and hence used a tape on her jaws to tackle the pain. Despite all the pain and suffering, Swapna managed to get the job done and scripted history for India.
Dattu Baban Bhokanal
India’s rowing star Dattu Baban Bhokanal overcame many obstacles in life before winning the gold medal at Asian Games. Dattu represented India at 2016 Rio Olympics while his mother was in coma. Dattu was born to a well-digger father as eldest son and hence could hardly afford his studies. Leaving studies, Dattu decided to join his father to earn wages for family. Since then, the Rowing gold medallist has done several odd jobs like selling onions and working at petrol pumps, in order to support his family.
After the death of his father, Dattu joined Indian Army where a new chapter of his life began.
Son of an autorickshaw driver, Hyderabad-based Mohammad Siraj has managed to grab headlines thanks to his IPL performance. Siraj comes from a poor and humble background. His story is yet another example of rags to riches tale. Siraj started his career playing tennis ball and his father helped him in every way possible to gather expenses of cricket. Siraj made his debut for India in 2017 against New Zealand.
We couldn’t get our eyes off this Asian Games medallist. Dutee Chand, a 100m women athlete is carrying the torch for women in the country. Chand started her journey from a small village in Odisha and at present has become an icon for young women who want to take up competitive sports. Chand was born in a family of weavers and is running from the age of four.
Chand is trained in facing difficulties. She didn’t have a pair of shoes and hence was forced to run barefoot. Chand even didn’t had right clothes and in winter, despite shivering, Chand never stopped running and now we are seeing the results of all her hard work.
Manu Bhaker was born in Haryana, a state where female infanticide is quite high. Interestingly, shooting wasn’t her first choice of sport. She has played boxing, skating, cricket, table tennis, karate, kabaddi and Thang Ta (Manipuri martial art form) before taking up shooting. 16-year-old Bhaker won gold in Commonwealth Games beating compatriot Heena Sidhu.
Bhaker was born to a Merchant Navy engineer and a school teacher mother. Bhaker, at a small age, has become the nation’s new sensation and has popularised the sport in her village.
Tajinderpal Singh Toor
Story of Tajinderpal Singh Toor is one of the most tragic ones. His father died before seeing his son winning the gold medal at Asian Games. Tajinderpal belonged to a family of farmers which means he had to struggle to make his dream come true and become a shot putter. Getting quality shoes, food supplements and professional gym, it was very hard for Tajinderpal to get all this done as all of them are very expensive.
Tajinderpal made everyone proud by winning the gold at the Asia Games and is no less than a hero for all who want to make their dreams come true.
The javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, the flag bearer of India at Asian Games, hails from a village in Panipat and practiced in green fields as in their village there were no playground, or a stadium. With lack of financial support and professional training, Neeraj learnt the basics of javelin seeing YouTube videos. His performance is hitting the mark and he is surely an Olympic medal contender.
With IANS, PTI Inputs