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Abhinav Bindra’s Olympic gold is the best moment in Indian sport: ESPN India

MUMBAI: ESPN India has ranked Abhinav Bindra’s Olympic gold from 2008 as the best moment in Indian sport. This moment was part of ESPN’s initiative to curate the top 20 moments as a tribute to the greatest achievements in the country’s rich and varied sporting history.

The top 20 moments were announced starting 6 July with the No. 1 moment being unveiled on 15 July.

“It was no easy task for the jury to rank these performances that spanned nearly a century, but it was hugely fulfilling. The best thing about the process was exploring the rich history of Indian sports and sportspersons who have defined it. This exercise is a small but valuable step towards putting the spotlight on the feats and events that have shaped Indian sports and inspired generations of athletes to strive for excellence,” said ESPN India, South Asia editor-in-chief Sambit Bal.

The top 20 moments in Indian sport were curated by a 31-member jury comprising current and former sports personalities, journalists and influencers, such as Rahul Dravid, Jeev Milkha Singh, Cedric D’Souza, Michael Ferreira, Jaidip Mukerjea and Rohit Brijnath, among others.

The initial list included 75 best sports moments before the jury began the process of selecting the final 20. Once the jury rankings were in, each sporting event was given points based on where it featured on a jury member’s ranking system: 20 points for each No. 1 ranking, 19 for a No. 2 and so on. The winning events were then finalised based on their cumulative scores.

The stars of the winning moments also shared their memories and reactions:

“Those are the highlights of my career. I made the mistake of admiring my opponents. I started appreciating their good shots, but in today’s professionalism, they would laugh at it,” said Ramanathan Krishnan on his reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals in 1960.

“The world title came to India for the first time, so I can very safely say that was the happiest moment of my life,” said Wilson Jones on winning the Billiards World Championship in 1958.

“I was playing emotional tennis. I wasn’t thinking. All I can promise is that every time I go on court I will give my best,” said Leander Paes, remembering the moment he won the Olympic Bronze for Tennis in Atlanta 1996.

Top 20 moments

1 Abhinav Bindra’s Olympic gold in 2008

2 India win the Cricket World Cup in 1983

3 Prakash Padukone wins the All England Open

4 Viswanathan Anand wins the Unified Chess title

5 India win their first Olympic hockey gold

6 Sushil Kumar wins his second Olympic medal

7 India win the 1975 Hockey World Cup

8 Khashaba Jadhav wins bronze at Helsinki Olympics

9 Milkha Singh misses bronze at Rome by 0.1 second

10 Rajyavardhan Rathore wins silver in Athens

11 Saina Nehwal rises to World No. 1

12 PT Usha’s gold rush at the 1986 Seoul Asiad

13 Leander Paes wins tennis bronze in Atlanta

14 Wilson Jones is billiards world champion

15 India win 1962 Asiad football gold

16 Malleswari wins bronze in Sydney

17 Mary Kom boxes her way into history in London

18 Gopichand wins the All England Open

19 Ramanathan Krishnan reaches Wimbledon last four

20 Anju Bobby George wins world championship medal