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When did India first participate at the Olympics? Tracing India's history in the sporting extravaganza

Abhinav Bindra
Abhinav Bindra
FEATURED COLUMNIST

After five years, Olympics is back. In less than two weeks' time, thousands of athletes from across the globe will gather in Tokyo to battle it out for the ultimate glory. India will field over 120 athletes across multiple disciplines.

As athletes prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, here is a look at all of India’s medals at the Summer Games:

When did India first participate at the Olympics?

The first recorded Olympic Games were held in 1896. India first participated at the Olympics in 1900, with Norman Pritchard winning the country its first medal. Representing British India, Pritchard won silver in the men’s 200m and 200m hurdles.

Hockey is the most successful event for India at the Olympics

India has won a total of 28 medals. Out of these, 11 came in men's hockey. The first was a gold at the 1928 Amsterdam Games. Over the subsequent Games, India dominated in hockey. The team won six consecutive golds from 1928 to 1956. Their last gold came in 1980,

READ: Tokyo Olympics 2020 India schedule: when and where to watch and broadcast details

Who won India’s first individual Olympic medal?

India’s first individual medal at the Olympic Games came in 1952 in Helsinki. Khashaba Jadhav won bronze in freestyle wrestling. This was India’s first individual medal post-Independence.

READ: What is the motto of the Olympics? Explaining Citius, Altius and Fortius

It took the country another 56 years to win a second wrestling medal. Sushil Kumar ended the drought at the 2008 Beijing Games, winning bronze.

Who is India’s first female Olympic medalist?

Karnam Malleswari is India's first female Olympic medalist. She won bronze at the 2000 Sydney Games in weightlifting.

Markus, Lin, Malleswari
Markus, Lin, Malleswari

Who is India’s first Olympic gold medalist?

While India won eight gold medals in hockey, an individual gold remained elusive until 2008. At the Beijing Games, Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian to win gold and the second shooter to win an Olympic medal. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won India's first shooting medal at Athens 2004.

19th Commonwealth Games - Day 2: Shooting
19th Commonwealth Games - Day 2: Shooting

READ: Tokyo Olympics 2020 broadcast schedule India: where to watch, timings, and more details

India at Olympics: Tokyo 2020 in sight

In Tokyo, India will be favorites in multiple disciplines. According to Gracenote's statistics, the country will win at least 17 medals, including four golds.


Edited by SANJAY K K
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