Indian sports has produced some stupendous performances over the years and many have climbed up the echelon to be ranked #1 in their respective sports. On the wake of badminton ace Saina Nehwal regaining the top spot of the BWF rankings and Sania Mirza achieving the top ranking in doubles, Sports Rediscovered brings you some of the top Indian sports stars who have reached #1 ranking. Here’s part two of our series of Indian sports persons who have achieved the top ranking in the world.
Indian Sports Stars That Have Reached World #1 Ranking:
#1. Vijender Singh
Olympic boxer Vijender Singh became the top-ranked boxer in middleweight category in 2009. He first broke into the scene at 2008 Beijing Olympics where he won bronze medal, the first ever Olympic medal for an Indian boxer. Subsequently, he participated in World Amateur Boxing Championship in 2009 where he bagged another bronze. Vijender topped the ranking chart that year and ever since he has been a leading boxer for India in his weight category.
#2. Ronjan Sodhi
Trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi ascended to the top rank in the work in 2011 after winning the bronze medal at the Maribor ISSF World Cup that year. He is also the first Indian marksman to reach the top spot.
#3. Jitu Rai
Jitu Rai is the current top-ranked shooter in 10-metre air pistol. He achieved the feat after having bagged silver in 2014 ISSF World Cup in Munich before bagging gold in Maribor.
He is also ranked #4 in 50-metre air pistol and is a record holder in Commonwealth Games for attaining 562 points in the qualification round. Jitu went onto bag the gold that year with another record, scoring 194.1 points in the final.
#4. Deepika Kumari
Archer Deepika Kumari is a former world #1 in recurve archery. She ascended to the top after winning her first World Cup individual stage recurve gold medal in 2012. She overcame Korea’s Lee Sung-Jin by virtue of six points to four in the final.
Deepika has won gold medals in 2010 Commonwealth Games in women’s individual recurve and also in women’s team recurve.
#5. Manavjit Singh Sandhu
Trap shooter Manavjit Singh Sandhu rose to #1 rank in 2006 after becoming the first Indian shotgun shooter to be crowned World Champion in 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championship. He was subsequently awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in the same year.
#6. Wilson Jones
Late Wilson Lionel Garton-Jones won the amateur world championship in English Billiards twice 1958 and 1964. An Anglo-Indian who was born in Pune, Maharashtra, Jones was a dominant figure in amateur National Billiards Championship, winning the tournament a dozen times.
Jones was awarded Arjuna Award in 1962, Padma Shri in 1965 and Dronacharya Award in 1995.
#7. Michael Ferreira
“The Bombay Tiger” Michael Ferriera is three-time Amateur World Champion in English Billiards. He won the first amateur World Billiards Championship in 1977 and also bagged World Open Billiards Champion title the same year.
In 1978, Ferreira became the first amateur player to break the 1000 point barrier in national billiards championship and his 1149 points were a new amateur world record.
Sports Rediscovered salutes these Indian champions that have been pioneers in their respective sports.