The Year 2018 will undoubtedly go down as one of India's best in terms of sporting achievements. Indian athletes broke and created a lot of records, especially at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. As the year comes to an end, we look at some of the feats that happened for the first time in the history of Indian sports.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games showed that the Indian table tennis players had the ability to beat the best. At Gold Coast in Queensland, Indian paddlers won three golds - Manika Batra won women's singles title, while the Indian men and women grabbed the team event gold medals. These were the most number of medals for India in table tennis at any Games.
Moving on to the Asian Games that took place in Jakarta and Palembang, the Indian men's table tennis team continued its magical run, edging past Japan 3-1 in the quarter-final to assure itself of a historic first medal - a bronze. Prior to this edition of Asiad, India had not won any medal in table tennis.
In wrestling, it was the turn of Vinesh Phogat to enter the record books. Having had to settle for a bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Vinesh beat Japan's Yuki Irie 6-2 in 50kg freestyle category to become India's first female wrestler to strike gold in Asiad history on August 19, 2018.
In the badminton event at the Asian Games, Saina Nehwal became the first Indian female shuttler to win a medal - a bronze, in the singles event. Then, PV Sindhu went one better and won silver. The year 2018 also saw Sindhu win the BWF Tour Finals title, making her the first Indian (male or female) to lay hands on the prestigious year-end title.
In athletics, Swapna Barman became the first-ever Indian to win a gold medal in women's heptathlon event at the Asian Games. Swapna recorded a personal best points tally of 6026 points while completing all seven events. With her right hamstring not in the best condition and a tape around her left chin due to a toothache, Swapna defied all odds to finish on top of the podium and make her country proud.
The year was special in many ways but the icing on the cake was definitely the top notch performances by the Indian female athletes at the world stage.