The most beloved sports player that India has ever seen is also called ‘Little Master’. Despite its short stature and soft-spokenness, on the cricket field, Sachin Tendulkar is a force to be reckoned with. No other cricketer has held so many batting records as he has.
Tendulkar not only won the hearts of fans but also the respect of colleagues. He entered the limelight when he was only 16 years old and for millions of Indians, Tendulkar was not only a hero, he was almost a messiah.
Mithali Raj is the captain of the Indian women’s cricket team. In a country where women’s cricket has very few players, Raj has shown a consistent commitment to the game despite all the odds. She is the highest female goalscorer in women’s international cricket and the only female cricketer to have more than 6,000 runs in an international day.
Raj led the Indian team to the finals at this year’s Women’s Cricket World Cup in England. Although they lost in the host country, Raj and their performance made the country stand up and take notice.
Viswanathan Anand, or Vishy, as he is known as, is not only India’s greatest chess player but he is also considered one of the best in the world. He became the first chess grandmaster of India when he was only 20 years old.
In an intense battle, the five-time world champion lost his crown to Norwegian chess prodigy, Magnus Carlsen, in 2013. Anand was the first recipient of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, sports honor highest in India.
Mary Kom is the most famous Indian boxer. Hailing from northeastern state of Manipur, Kom is a five-time World Amateur Boxing champion. She won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics and a gold medal in the Asian Boxing Championships.
Coming from a modest foundation to achieve a lot, Kom has become an inspiration for aspiring sports across the country. In 2014, actor Priyanka Chopra played a boxer in a Bollywood film based on her life.