Top 10 Famous Indian Athletes of All Time

Sports is one thing that is loved by literally billions of people around the globe right now, and we Indians aren’t far behind in that race. Even when it comes to participation as well as winning, the athletes of India have proved their worth time and again. And because of the rising sports and athletics culture in the last century or so, we have seen some Indian athletes get unmatched fame, not just in India, but all around the globe. That’s the very reason why we are here to take a look at the top 10 famous Indian athletes of all time. Let’s take a look, shall we?

1. Dhyan Chand (Hockey)

Major Dhyan Chand hockey player

We know that it would be a surprising fact for many of you, but did you know that Adolf Hitler once asked Dhyan Chand, the “Wizard” of hockey, to play for Germany? Yes, that’s a 100% true. Talking about his personal life, well, Dhyan Chand was born in Allahabad on August 29, 1905. He started making magic on the ice in the Indian Army. In his career, he scored over 570 goals for India and helped them win three Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932, and 1936. People will always remember his famous hat-trick in the 1936 Berlin Olympics final.

2. Milkha Singh (Athletics)


Have you heard of the “Flying Sikh”? Milkha Singh’s life is like a plot for a movie. And we have all seen his super inspirational movie, right? Milkha was born on October 20, 1929, in Govindpura, Punjab. He survived the trauma of partition to later become an icon in Indian sports. Though, in 1960, he almost won an Olympic medal in Rome. In 1958 and 1962, he won gold medals at the Asian Games, which just skyrocketed his fame. “The Race of My Life,” Milkha’s autobiography, tells the story of his tough and successful trip, which has inspired many Indians to follow their dreams.


3. Sachin Tendulkar (Cricket)

Sachin Tendulkar

Alright, after the World Cup win of India in 2024, it is now time to give tribute to the “God of Cricket” as well, right? Yes, we are talking about Sachin Tendulkar. He was born in Mumbai on April 24, 1973, and made his start in Indian Cricket when he was only 16. He broke records for 24 years, getting 100 international centuries and becoming the player with the most runs in both Tests and ODIs. In cricket, his famous performance, the “Desert Storm” series in 1998, and his double century in ODIs are like super popular myths.

4. PT Usha (Athletics)

PT Usha

Her rise from Payyoli, Kerala, to world fame, where she is known as the “Payyoli Express,” is truly amazing. Usha was born on June 27, 1964. At the Asian Games, her speed and skill won her four golds and seven silvers. Though, her sad close call at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles showed how determined she was.

5. Kapil Dev (Cricket)

Kapil Dev

Remember who won us the very first Cricket World Cup in 1983? Yes, that happened under the leadership of Kapil Dev as the captain of the team. Kapil, who was born in Chandigarh on January 6, 1959, changed Indian cricket with his aggressive style of play and dynamic leadership. For a very long time, in Test cricket, he is the only player with more than 5,000 runs and 400 catches. One of the best runs in cricket history is his unbeaten 175 against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup.

6. Neeraj Chopra (Javelin Throw)

Neeraj Chopra

After coming from Panipat, Haryana, Neeraj Chopra shot to fame at the Olympics in an instant. Neeraj was born on December 24, 1997. His gold medal in the javelin throw at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo was a big deal for Indian sports, and that’s the very thing that made him a super popular athlete, not just in India but all around the globe. And now, literally, everybody knows his name and achievements in India.

7. Sushil Kumar (Wrestling)

Sushil Kumar

When we talk about the wrestlers from India, it has to be none other than Sushil Kumar who represents wrestling in the country. He won two Olympic medals, a bronze in 2008 and a silver in 2012. Sushil was born on May 26, 1983, in Baprola, Delhi. His family had a boxing background, which shaped his early life and got him into this wrestling culture. His many Commonwealth Games golds and 2010 world title win show how good he is.

8. Mary Kom (Boxing)

Mary Kom

“Magnificent Mary” Kom is an important figure in Indian boxing. She was born on November 24, 1982, in Manipur. In 2012, Mary won a bronze medal at the Olympics and has won six World Championships. Her rise from a small town to fame around the world is impressive. Her story of juggling being a mom and a boxing career is told in her book, “Unbreakable,” which inspires women athletes all over the world. And around that book, you might have seen her very famous and inspirational Bollywood movie, right?

9. Sunil Chhetri (Football)

Sunil Chhetri

India’s football superstar Sunil Chhetri has scored more than 94 goals for the country, ranking 4th in the world to do something like that. Sunil Chhetri was born in Secunderabad on August 3, 1984. His ability to lead and score goals has changed Indian football. And yes, people talk a lot about what he did for Bengaluru FC and the national team.

10. Leander Paes (Tennis)

Leander Paes

Without a doubt, Leander Paes is a legendary doubles tennis player who was born in Kolkata on June 17, 1973. He has won eight Grand Slam titles in men’s doubles and ten in mixed doubles. He made history by winning third place in the singles event at the 1996 Olympics. Leander has the best Davis Cup record of any player. All in all, he is known for his volleying skills and smart play.


There you have it. But remember, this post and ranking weren’t just based on the popularity of these Indian athletes, we also have taken into account the impact they made in the overall sports culture in the country. So yes, that’s all for today, we’ll meet you in the next one, probably with something even more exciting.

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