Scroll@10: Neeraj Chopra’s Olympic gold, a Srinagar football club works to stop addiction and more

In a decade, Indian sport has grown leaps and bounds. There has been a mentality shift in the athletes – from being happy to simply qualify for the biggest tournaments to realising that they belong at the greatest stages.

Through that journey, Scroll’s sports desk, The Field, has been around to bring the news and help understand that seismic change in the Indian sports graph – especially the sports that get overlooked in a cricket-crazy country.

From the greatest moment of an Olympic triumph, to the most heart-breaking of losses in a World Championships final, The Field was there to help encapsulate the story of Indian sport in this past decade.

Nozomi Okuhara and PV Sindhu. Credit: AFP

Describing the highs and lows of an epic World Championship final battle, Abhijeet Kulkarni charted out the second-longest match in women’s badminton, a truly memorable encounter between India’s PV Sindhu and Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in 2017. This piece captured it all – the sheer determination of both players to achieve a never-seen-before feat for their country and the emotion after it ends.Read here.

Manipur Super League.

Arka Bhattacharya outlined the building blocks being laid by those in North East India to sustain their valuable contribution to India’s football legacy. From Aizawl FC’s I-League triumph to state leagues in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur struggling to continue, the article looked at maintaining grassroots football development in a region while tackling audience attention, lack of accredited coaches and funding. Read here.

Credit: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Still relevant six years later, this article by Zenia D’Cunha looked at the mechanisms to address sexual harassment in Indian sports. She found a hodge-podge of apparent adherence to rules and regulations, and no actual instances of federations implementing these mechanisms to protect those who want to make complaints. Read here.

Shubman Gill in action. Credit: Patrick Hamilton/AFP

In this story, Aditya Chaturvedi discussed the conflict between cricket bat manufacturers and sponsors of the game. As they try to gain more recognition for their efforts, the bat manufacturers, who primarily come from India, are victims of their own popularity and come second to International Cricket Council-approved sponsors. Read here.

Neeraj Chopra on the Tokyo Olympics podium. Credit: AFP

For Indian sports fans, August 7, 2021, is a date etched deep in memory. Ashish Magotra recapped the importance of Neeraj Chopra’s javelin gold at Tokyo 2020 not just for athletics in the country but for all Indian sportspersons. The piece explored Chopra’s personality how it influenced his gold-medal winning feat. Read here.

Satwik-Chirag in action during the 2022 Thomas Cup. Credit: AFP

The poster boys of Indian badminton Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have been growing from strength to strength. The men’s doubles team has raised the bar when it comes to BWF Tour events. But in team events like the Thomas Cup in 2022, Vinayakk Mohanarangan described how the dynamic duo have an aura that rubs off on their teammates. Read here.

Left: Pritam and Kuldeep Siwach; Top right: Pritam during training; Bottom right: Jyoti, Nisha, Neha and Sharmila. Credit: Pritam Siwach

Nestled in a corner of Sonipat, Haryana, former Indian women’s hockey team captain Pritam Siwach has an academy she runs with her husband, Kuldeep. Samreen Razzaqui and Dilip Unnikrishnan wrote about how their institution has become a training ground for several of the Indian women’s hockey team regulars who went on to win bronze at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Read here.

(Clockwise) Bengaluru FC and India captain Sunil Chhetri wearing the special blazer; A close-up of the Bengaluru FC blazer with the rainbow sticker; Bengaluru FC fans fly the rainbow flag during a match. Credit: Bengaluru FC, Indian Super League

Every year, top-flight Indian football team Bengaluru FC have done their bit to raise awareness for the cause of the LGBTQ+ community. Tanya Kini wrote about how the team has received online backlash for their stand, but has been firm in their support for the community. Read here.

Downtown Heroes will make their Durand Cup debut this season. Credit: Downtown Heroes/Facebook

Once a centre for culture, downtown Srinagar has fallen to the perils of drug abuse. Abhijit Nair wrote about how a football club emerged from the ruins and is providing a safe avenue for at-risk youth. Read here.

Sheetal Devi. Credit: Retina Singh/Being You

Sheetal Devi once harboured dreams of acquiring prosthetic arms to become a teacher. Shahid Judge traced her journey of embracing who she was to become the first armless female archer to win a World Championship medal. As the 2023 season progressed, she won gold at the Asian Games and became the world No 1 archer as well. Read here.

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