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10 photos which defined Indian sports in 2022

The Bridge picks ten pictures which resonated with the pulse and emotions of Indian athletes and fans alike in the year 2022.

10 photos which defined Indian sports in 2022

Pritish Raj

Updated: 1 Jan 2023 4:10 PM GMT

2022 was an eventful year for Indian sports, with multiple highs and lows.

From Avinash Sable's triumph at Commonwealth Games 2022 to Bajrang Punia's medal at World Championships and Jaipur Pink Panthers winning Pro Kabaddi League 2022, Indian sports witnessed multiple breathtaking moments.

1. Just a matter of inches- Avinash Sable's historic Silver medal in CWG

Avinash Sable battling it with the Kenyan Athlete in the last stretch at CWG 2022. (Source: AFP)

Avinash Sable created history with his silver medal run in the 3000m Steeplechase as he prevented a Kenyan podium sweep after 28 years in the event.

Coming from a World Championships debacle, Avinash Sable was under pressure to perform in CWG Games but it was tough given the presence of the Kenyan trio of Conseslus Kipruto, Abraham Kibiwot and Amos Serem.

The same trio swept off the podium in the 2018 Gold Coast Games but a spirited Sable decided to take matters into his own hands and create history.

2. A moment to savour- Saurav Ghosal's bronze medal at CWG

Saurav Ghosal with a moment of a lifetime at CWG 2022. (Source: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

Sports are weird when it comes to emotions. Tears can be deceiving to onlookers at times.

Saurav Ghosal created history by becoming India's first-ever male squash player to win an individual medal at Commonwealth Games.

And the way he chose to express it? Tears.

The complexity of the moment is the definition of humans and their emotions.

Were these tears of happiness or sadness or gratitude or shock or relief?

It could have been anything, the happiness of becoming India's first ever male squash played to win at CWG, the sadness of losing his long-time coach Malcolm Willstrop last year, gratitude to all the fans, a loving family and a supportive wife, the shock of finally defeating James Willstrop or relief after all those close misses at World Championships and CWGs.

Only Saurav Ghosal can tell us which form of tears were those!

3. Lakshya Sen's victory in Thomas Cup Final

That relieved face signifies the importance of winning for both Lakshya and India. (Source: Badminton Photo)

2022 was one of the best years Indian badminton has witnessed.

In one of the most spirited performances of history, the Indian men's team defeated Indonesia to lift the Thomas Cup.

India defeated Malaysia, Denmark and Indonesia in the knockout rounds on the way to the title.

Coming into the finals against Indonesia, Lakshya Sen had won just one game and lost the next three. He was facing Anthony Ginting who was in stellar form. Ginting started the game with a 21-8 crushing win over Sen but what followed was a brilliant comeback as Sen defeated Ginting 21-17 and 21-16 in the next hour to give India the winning start.

With Lakshya Sen winning the game, it looked like India was destined to create the history that day.

4. Tribute to Novy Kapadia- The Encyclopaedia of Indian Football

Indian fans in Kolkata paying their tribute to Novy Kapadia.

During the Indian football team's AFC Asian Cup qualification, fans in Kolkata paid a tribute to Professor, Novy Kapadia. A man who was synonymous with Indian football and the beautiful moments of the game left us last year in November.

Popular among Indian fans in the Encyclopaedia of Indian football, Novy Kapadia was a renowned journalist and professor based out of Delhi, known for his relentless passion for the game.

From calling a FIFA game during the World Cup to commentating on a Subroto Cup game between Delhi schools, Novy Kapadia had the same zeal across all fields. His book "Barefoot to Boots: The Many Lives of Indian Football" is considered one of the best books on Indian football.

5. Moments before Destruction: One of the most impactful subs in Indian Football

Jesin TK getting ready to create havoc on the pitch in the next few minutes. (Source: AIFF)

The 81-year-old competition Santosh Trophy is home to multiple stories which go into folklore.

In the 2022 edition of the competition, Karnataka was leading 1-0 against Kerala in the semi-finals. Bino George (Kerala Manager) decided to make a substitution by calling striker Vignesh off and sending a young Jesin TK.

What followed next was absolute madness - making this photo like one of those taken moments before destruction.

Jesin went on and scored a hat trick in 15 minutes. The crowd exploded and before you knew Kerala were leading at HT by 4-1. Jesin didn't stop there scoring two more before FT.

Indian legend I.M. Vijayan was there to witness this beautiful moment. This photo will be one of the iconic moments in this competition's history.

6. One Man Army- Md Shadlu's record-breaking performance against Dabang Delhi

Standing tall against the Delhi team, Shadlu was one man army on that night. (PritishRaj/TheBridge)

Kabaddi is a game of pace and thrill. While this combat sport is a team game, there are moments when individual brilliance takes over.

One such moment came in the 2022 league stage when Patna Pirates took on Dabang Delhi. Patna Pirates looked clueless as Dabang Delhi picked up regular points.

But the left corner of Patna Pirates, Shadlu decided to take on Delhi and produced eight super tackles, a first in Pro Kabaddi League. He would go on to score raid points also, scoring a total of 19 points while his team scored just 8 more points.

It was a one-man show in front of a full Hyderabad crowd.

7. Cry of Joy- Nikhat Zareen after winning the Boxing World Championships

Nikhat Zareen lets out a roar after winning the world title. (Source: BFI)

As mentioned before, sports are weird when it comes to human emotions.

India's darling boxer, Nikhat Zareen became the world champion in the 52 kg category after defeating Thailand's Jitpong Jutamas. She became the fifth Indian boxer after legendary MC Mary Kom, Laishram Sarita Devi, Jenny R.L. and Lekha K.C. to win a gold medal at the World Championships.

The emotion in this picture is the culmination of all the hard work and grind an athlete puts through to reach the top level. The emotion in this picture is a promise made to loved ones to make them proud.

8. Wish the colour was Gold- Neeraj Chopra looks at his World Championship silver medal

Neeraj Chopra looking at his silver medal at World Championships 2022. (Source: AFP)

Indian sports is incomplete without the mention of the Indian golden boy, Neeraj Chopra.

The Olympic Champion has already cemented his name in the Indian history books by creating every possible record and several first-times in Athletics.

When Neeraj won the silver at World Athletics Championships this year, the country was again proud of their hero.

Although for Neeraj Chopra himself, he took a moment to look at his medal and promised to return with a different colour next year. The quality which sets legends apart from medallists.

9. A moment of redemption- Manika Batra's bronze medal win at Asian Cup 2022

Manika Batra celebrating her moment of redemption in the Asian Cup 2022. (Source: WTT Global)

If the rollercoaster term can be defined by something, it has to be Manika Batra's performance in 2022.

The poster girl of Indian table tennis was blasted with criticism and her form was scrutinised after her poor returns at international tournaments and Commonwealth Games.

But as it is documented in sports, there is always a moment when all failures can be redeemed by one moment of success. Manika's redemption came when she created history by becoming the first-ever Indian women's TT player to win the bronze medal in Asian Cup.

Manika defeated World number 7, World number 6 and World number 23 on her way to the historic medal.

A moment of inspiration if you are looking for one in 2023.

10. Packing the golden punch- India's new-found heroes in Commonwealth Games

The awesome foursome of Lovely, Pinki, Nayanmoni and Rupa Rani. (Source: SAI Media)

The whole of India was frantically searching and learning about this new sport called Lawn Bowls when the quartet of Lovely Choubey, Pinki Kaushik Singh, Nayanmoni Saikia and Rupa Rani Tirkey were on the verge of winning a historic gold.

A game which makes jokes of age and doesn't signify well-built athletes, Lawn Bowls is played with poise and patience and these incredible champions showed exactly that against South Africa.

A group of athletes who fought every obstacle in life and on the Lawn Bowls course against South Africa to give India another sport to obsess over.

The last picture sums up Indian sports in 2022 - a year of unlikely heroes and new stories to relish.

While it is very tough to choose ten pictures in a country which shows up with a new story or a hero even now and then, we hope these pictures will let you live the joy of these moments.

Happy New Year 2023 from everyone at The Bridge.

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