Indian Track & Field Champion: Vikas Gowda

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.

Vikas Gowda first burst on the scene at the  2002 World Junior Championships in Jamaica, where he finished 12th in Discus Throw and 8th in the Shot Put.
But the turning point in Gowda’s career came when he moved to Maryland in the United States and his growth as a discus thrower began when he clinched the 2006 NCAA National Championship title.

In his maiden Commonwealth Games appearance, Gowda finished 6th in the Discus throw and 5th in the Shot Put and in the Asian Games, the very same year, again finished in the 6th position.

Gowda didn’t have a great time in his maiden Summer Games in Beijing in 2008 whereHis breakaway performance at the international stage came when he clinched the bronze at the following Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010, with an effort of 63.13m and then backed that performance up with a even better show at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, clinching the Silver medal with a throw of 63.69m.

In the Asian Championships, that followed  next year, Gowda won yet another Silver medal but in the very same year, he had a disappointing World Championships, finishing 7th with an effort of 64.05m.
Gowda suffered back-to-back disappointments at the Olympics when he finished in the 8th position in London in 2012, but the Asian Championships in Pune were back to his rescue the following year as he clinched a Gold with a performance of 64.90m
He carried forward his good show at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year, winning the Gold once again, with an effort of 63.64m, thereby becoming only the second athlete after Milkha Singh to win an individual medal at the Games.
In the Asian Games that followed in Incheon, Gowda won yet another medal, this time a silver with an effort of 62.58m. He recently won yet another Gold at the Asian Championships, that were held in Wuhan, China with an effort of 62.03m

Having tasted success at almost every level of competition, Gowda will be hoping that he can secure the Olympic medal in Rio next year and fulfill any athlete’s most sought-after ambition.

Indian Chess Champion: S. P. Sethuraman

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.

S. P. Sethuraman is an Indian chess grandmaster. He was born on 25th Feburary 1993 in Chennai.

He achieved his three Grandmaster norms with shared second place and 8/10 at the Parsvnath Open in New Delhi in 2009, third place and 6.5/9 at the Paris International Championship in 2010 and winning the Voivoda Cup in Legnica with 7/9 in the same year.

Sethuraman won the 2004 Asian under-12 championship in Singapore and the 2009 World U16 championship in Antalya. In 2014 Sethuraman took team bronze medal with the Indian team at the 41st Chess

Olympiad in Tromsø and won the Indian National Premier Championship. With this win, he qualified for the Chess World Cup 2015, where he knocked out Sanan Sjugirov in round one and compatriot Pentala Harikrishna in the second round,* before being eliminated by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the third one.

Indian Chess Champion: Abhijeet Gupta

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.

Abhijeet Gupta is an Indian chess player with the title of Grandmaster (GM). He is born on 16 October 1989
He achieved the GM norms at the Andorra Open 2006, New Delhi (Parswnath) 2007 and Balaguer 2007 tournaments.

On August 15, 2008, he won the World Junior Chess Championship in Gaziantep, Turkey, ahead of many other strong players, including Maxim Rodshtein, David Howell and Hou Yifan. He is the third Indian to win this prestigious championship, after Viswanathan Anand and Pentala Harikrishna. In the same year, he also won the 6th Parsvnath Open in New Delhi. In 2011, he came first in the 13th Dubai Open Chess Championship and in the Indian National Premier Chess Championship. In 2013 Gupta won the Commonwealth Chess Championship and the Al Ain Chess Classic tournament. In the same year he received the Arjuna award for his achievements. Gupta took clear first in the 8th Georgy Agzamov Memorial held in Tashkent in May 2014. He won the Commonwealth championship again in 2015 and later that year the Hoogeveen Open. Gupta won the 2016 Reykjavik Open with a score of 8½/10.

Abhijeet Gupta played for the Indian national team in the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, where he won an individual silver medal thanks to his rating performance of 2746 on board 4.

Indian Chess Champion: Krishnan Sasikiran

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.

Krishnan Sasikiran is an Indian chess grandmaster. He was born on 7 January 1981.

He was one of Viswanathan Anand’s seconds in the World Chess Championship 2013.

Born in Madras, Sasikiran won the Indian Chess Championship for the first time in 1999 and won it again in 2002, 2003 and 2013. In 1999 he also won the Asian Junior Chess Championship in Vũng Tàu, Vietnam. Sasikiran completed the requirements for the Grandmaster title at the 2000 Commonwealth Championship. In 2001, he won the prestigious Hastings International Chess tournament. In 2003, he won the 4th Asian Individual Championship as well as the Politiken Cup in Copenhagen. Sasikiran tied with Jan Timman for first place in the 2005 Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament, which took place in Malmö and Copenhagen.
In 2006, he tied for first place at the Aeroflot Open in Moscow with Baadur Jobava, Victor Bologan and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, finishing third on tiebreak score. Later in the same year, Sasikiran won a gold medal in the 2006 Asian Games’ team event. Tamil Nadu government presented a cheque of Rs 20 Lacs as appreciation for his success. He was also bestowed with the Arjuna Award in 2002. In the January 2007 FIDE rating list, Sasikiran was ranked number 21 in the world with an Elo rating of 2700. He became only the second chess player from India to reach Elo rating of 2700.
In December 2008, he won City of Pamplona international chess tournament, a category 16 event with average Elo above 2640, by one-point margin with a rating performance of 2795. In 2009, he tied for 2nd-3rd with Étienne Bacrot in Antwerp.

In May 2011, Sasikiran won the Asian Blitz Chess Championship in Mashhad on tiebreak over Wesley So and Bu Xiangzhi, after all three players finished on 7/9 points. In October of the same year, he placed clear first in the open section of the 15th Corsican Circuit. He reached semi-final stage of the Corsica Masters knockout rapid tournament losing to eventual winner Anand.
At the 2014 Chess Olympiad in Tromsø he scored 7.5/10 points on board three to help the Indian team to win the bronze medal.[11] Sasikiran also won the individual silver medal on board three.

Indian Chess Champion: Parimarjan Negi

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.

Parimarjan Negi is a chess grandmaster (GM) from India, a former Asian and Indian champion.
He was born on 9 February 1993.
He achieved the GM title at the age of 13 years and 142 days (13 years, 4 months, and 20 days) in 2006, becoming the second youngest chess grandmaster ever, second only to Sergey Karjakin.

Negi played on the top board for the bronze medal-winning Indian team in the 2014 Chess Olympiad in Tromsø, Norway.

He was granted the Arjuna Award in 2010 by the Government of India.

Indian Chess Champion: Murali Karthikeyan

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.

Murali Karthikeyan is an Indian chess grandmaster. He is born on 1st May 1999 in Thanjavur. Karthikeyan learnt chess at the age of five years.

In 2015, Karthikeyan won India’s 53rd National Premier Chess Championship in Tiruvarur edging out on tiebreak Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, whom he defeated in the direct encounter, after both scored 8.5 points from 13 games.
In December 2011, he won the Under-12 World Chess

Championship held in Caldas Novas, Brazil. Karthikeyan also became the world U16 champion in 2013 in Al Ain.

In 2014 he tied for third place at the Abu Dhabi Masters tournament and helped the Indian team to win the Under-16 Chess Olympiad in Győr, Hungary. In this latter competition he also completed all requirements for the Grandmaster title.

Indian Track & Field Champion: PT Usha

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.

The Payyoli Express, PT Usha was first spotted by coach O.M. Nambiar  in 1979 who saw her take part in the National School Games. He then took her under his wing and after a relatively slow start, where he failed to make an impact at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the Kerala-born athlete came into her own in the subsequent games.

She first tasted success at the 1982 Asian Games, that were held in New Delhi, winning a silver medal in the 100m and 200m event and a year later, won her maiden Gold medal at the Asian Track and Field Championships, that were played in Kuwait in the 400m and also created a new Asian record.

The following year, Usha participated in her second Olympic Games, in Los Angeles, where she first finished first in the 400m hurdles semifinals, but heartbreakingly, missed out on an Olympic medal by 1/100th of a second to finish fourth in the finals.
At the Asian Track and Field Championships, that were held in Jakarta in 1985, Usha won an exceptional 6 Gold medals, which is a record for the most medals won by an athlete in a single international meet.

At the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul, Usha won 4 Gold medals, one each in the 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay event and also clinched a Silver medal in the 100m.
Usha took a 2-year break from athletics in 1991, following her marriage, but returned to action in 1993. She was part of the 4x400m relay team at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta but didn’t compete. Later on, she was part of the  4x400m team, that won Gold at the 1998 Asian Championships and also set the current national record of 44.43 seconds.

Indian Track & Field Champion: Milkha Singh

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.

Milkha Singh first came into the athletics scene at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, where he took part in the 200m and 400m category, but the real turning point in his career, came not on the running track but off it, when he got an opportunity to meet Charles Jenkins, who won the 400m event at those Games.

2 years later, a rejuvenated and much-improved Milkha set records in the 200m and 400m categories at the National Games, that were held in Cuttack and then went on to win the Gold at the Asian Games that year in Tokyo.

The year 1958 became better for him when he won independent India’s first ever Commonwealth Games Gold in the 400m event with a timing of 46.6 seconds.

However, heartbreak for Milkha came 2 years later at the Rome Olympics, where, despite putting in an exceptional performance in the 400m, he missed out an Olympic medal by the skin of his teeth. His performance in the race can be best described by a statement in an Australian newspaper in 2006, that read,

“Milkha Singh is the only Indian to have broken an Olympic track record. Unfortunately he was the fourth man to do so in the same race”

Milkha though didn’t let that defeat deter him one bit as he went on to went on win Golds in the 400m and the 4x400m relay. At the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Milkha entered to compete in the 400m, 4x100m and 4x 400m events, but didn’t participate in the first 2 events and in the 4x400m relay team event finished fourth in the heat stages, along with Makhan Singh, Amrit Pal and Ajmer Singh and they were eliminated at the heat stage.

Following his win over Abdul Khaliq in a race in 1960, Pakistan’s General Ayub Khan called Milkha The Flying Sikh in his post match comments and that nickname has stuck with the athlete ever since.

Indian Archery Champion: Tarundeep Rai

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.

Tarundeep Rai began his Archery career, after representing India at 2003 Asian Archery Championship at just 19-yars of age. However, Rai’s first major victory came at the 2010 Asian Games, where he would go onto win the silver medal at the 2010 Asian Games.

The 31-year old was part of the Indian Olympic contingent in both 2008 and 2012. In 2005, he also became the first Indian to make it into a World Championship semi-final, where he narrowly lost out on the bronze medal.

He has also been bestowed with the Arjuna Award.