The year 2023 has been an outstanding one for Indian sports. Athletes across the country made the nation proud in several competitions all over the world and they are just getting started! From cricket to football, tennis, badminton as well as athletics, there were several reasons for fans to celebrate in 2023. Looking back, it has been a year of ups and downs and as we approach 2024, fans can look forward to so much more with several top competitions lined up. Sports Calendar 2024: ICC T20 World Cup in Cricket, Paris Olympics, Euro in Football and Other Events to Look Forward to in New Year.

Neeraj Chopra, Virat Kohli and Sheetal Devi were among the many top athletes who starred in 2023. From India's sensational run in the ICC World Cup 2023 to the record-breaking medal haul at the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, several events saw Indians etch their names in history. As the year comes to a close, let us take a look at the top five highlights of Indian sports in 2023.

Neeraj Chopra at Asian games (Photo Credit: Twitter/@sachin_rt)

A First for India, Feat. Neeraj Chopra

The ace javelin thrower added to his ever-growing CV with a historic gold medal at the World Athletics Championships, held in Budapest, Hungary. The gold medal in Tokyo showed the world what the 26-year-old was capable of and 2023 proved that the Haryana athlete is destined to go down as one of the most decorated ones in history. With a throw of 88.17m, Chopra became the only Indian to win a gold medal at the World Athletics Championships.

Virat Kohli (left) and Mohammed Shami (right) (Photo credit: Twitter @BCCI and @ICC)

Cricket Greatness Personified

Virat Kohli stood out as one of India's standout athletes in 2023. Known by many monikers, the likes of which include 'King Kohli', 'Chase-Master' and 'GOAT' among others, 2023 was the year that Kohli redeemed himself and once again reinstated his stature as the best in the world. With solid performances in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as well as IPL, Kohli's best was seen in the ICC World Cup 2023 where he emerged as the record-highest run-scorer, amassing a jaw-dropping 765 runs. He won the Player of the Tournament award as well. Mohammed Shami also broke several records. Having not played the first few matches for India, Shami came into the playing XI replacing Hardik Pandya and he took the World Cup by storm, shattering several records and finishing as the highest wicket-taker, with 24 wickets to his name.

Sunil Chhetri (Photo Credits: Twitter/@chetrisunil11)

Indian Football On the Rise

The Blue Tigers had an unforgettable time in 2023. Sunil Chhetri and his team won three international tournaments in a row and fans could not be more proud of their effort. They flocked to every match and rooted for the players and they did not disappoint either. Igor Stimac and his team won the Tri-National international tournament in March and subsequently the Intercontinental Cup. Probably the biggest of the title triumphs was the SAFF Championship where the Blue Tigers defeated Lebanon in the final. Year Ender 2023: A Memorable Journey for Indian Football Team and A Hopeful Future.

Sheetal Devi (left) and Avinash Sable (right) (Photo credit: Twitter @narendramodi) and @India_AllSports)

Athletes, Para Athletes Shine in Hangzhou

Indian athletics continues to be on the rise and 2023 was another year where the athletes put on a memorable show. Having won 70 medals in Gold Coast 2018, the Indian athletes breached that mark well and truly in a convincing manner, finishing with a record haul of 107 medals which includes 28 gold, 38 silver and 41 bronze. In the Asian Para Games, the athletes won 111 medals which included 29 gold, 31 silver and 51 bronze. Neeraj Chopra and Kishore Jena had a 1-2 finish in Javelin Throw at the Asian Games where the Kabaddi teams, and shooters among other athletes had an unforgettable time. In the Asian Para Games, para-athletes like javelin thrower Sumit Antil and shuttler Pramod Bhagat were among those who stood out. A notable mention has to be made of Sheetal Devi, who won three medals at the Asian Para Games. Year Ender 2023: Lionel Messi – A Year After World Cup Triumph.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty (Photo credit: Twitter @BAI_Media)

Sat-Chi on the Rise

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty had a time to remember in 2023. Known as 'Sat-Chi' together, the Indian men's doubles badminton pair attained great heights in the year and fans will expect them to achieve. Besides winning the Swiss Open, Indonesia Open and Korea Open, the two bagged the gold medal, a first for India at the Asian Games before also rising to the number 1 position for the first time in the country's history.

R Praggnanandhaa (Photo credit: Twitter @ChessbaseIndia)

A notable mention has to be made of R Praggnanandhaa, who was phenomenal in 2023 as well. The youngster became only the second Indian after the great Viswanathan Anand to reach the Chess World Cup final. He put up a valiant fight in the final against the stalwart in Magnus Carlsen before eventually going down to the Norwegian. Later he and Vaishali became the first-ever brother-sister duo in history to become Grandmasters.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 30, 2023 06:28 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website