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5 greatest Indian athletes who have never won an Olympic medal

FEATURED COLUMNIST
06 May 2016, 11:30 IST

Several of India’s most iconic athletes have represented themselves and the country on the world stage, bringing laurels to the nation. They have represented the tricolour at the Olympic Games. However, Olympic medals apppear to have eluded these sportsmen and women, who have all trained hard and found significant success in their respective sports.

Mahesh Bhupathi

Mahesh Bhupathi 2016
Bhupathi is a doubles tennis icon with multiple Grand Slams, but no Olympic medal

One of India’s most decorated tennis players, Mahesh Bhupathi has had significant Grand Slam successes over a career that spanned nearly two decades. The Chennai-born ace is most well-known for his long and successful association with 17-time Grand Slam winner Leander Paes, with the two winning three of Bhupathi’s four doubles Grand Slam titles together.

What is perhaps not as well-known is the fact that Bhupathi had more success in the mixed doubles.

Bhupathi was the first ever Indian to win a Grand Slam title, taking the 1997 French Open mixed doubles title with Japan’s Rika Haraki. Bhupathi would partner with Paes to then win again at the French Open, taking the title at Wimbledon that same year.

The two won another Grand Slam title together – this time again on the clay courts of Roland Garros, in 2001. They played as a pair at two Olympic Games – in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, managing to reach the quarter-finals in the latter. Paes and Bhupathi would lose to eventual champions Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, who took doubles gold.

Their personal relationship has been fraught with issues that have played out publicly over the years, and this is perhaps a contributing factor to why Bhupathi is yet to win Olympic laurels.

Former partner Paes does have an Olympic medal, although that is in the singles. The two are among the best doubles players in the history of the game, and had their professional relationship not been seriously fractured, the pair would likely have won an Olympic medal given their combined skill and expertise and the evident on-court camaraderie and coordination that won them multiple Grand Slam titles.

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