MC Mary Kom has become famous among non-sporting junta in recent times thanks to her biopic starring Priyanka Chopra. But a decade ago die-hard sports buffs still knew about her multiple World Championship wins, for which her name made it to the coveted Limca Book of Records.
The Limca Book has, just like its other international bedfellow Guinness World Records, featured many curious, some borderline daft and a few really outrageous records (longest ear hair, longest fingernails to name two).
For some reason we Indians love chasing world records, a trend that was even noted in a recent New York Times report. When it comes to sports, Mary Kom’s feat is just one of hundreds in the exhaustive Limca list. In the just released 2015 Special Literature Edition more than 300 Indian sportspersons find mentions. Beyond the better known ones in badminton (Prakash Padukone’s path-breaking All England Badminton title or Saina Nehwal’s Olympic bronze) and the dozens in cricket, here is a select list of unheralded Indian sporting achievements:
First medal from Chess Olympiad
India won its maiden medal from the Tromso Chess Olympiad in 2014. In the Open section India, represented by Parimarjan Negi, K Sasikiran, SP Sethuraman, B Adhiban and MR Lalith Babu claimed the team bronze, ahead of traditional powerhouses like Russia, Armenia and Ukraine.
Ten wicket haul
Right arm pacer Jhulan Goswami dismissed all 10 batsmen in the Test against England at Taunton on Sept 1, 2006.
Maximum representation at Winter Olympics
Shiva Keshavan has represented India in luge at four Winter Olympics (1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010). He has now qualified for his fifth participation, at the Olympics in Russia in 2014.
Triple crown (Asian Games)
Manjeet Kaur is the first Indian to win three successive gold medals in the women’s 4×400 m relay in the Asian Games (2002, 2006 and 2010).
First ‘Three – Star’ rated boxing coach
Chief National Coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu is India’s lone ‘Three-Star’ coach. He is accredited to the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA). He has been the coach of the Indian team since 1993.
First amputee to run at high altitude
Major Devender Pal Singh Retd (b Sept 13, 1973) ran the 3rd Himalayan Running and Living XC marathon (21 km) with blade prosthetics starting from Banjara Camp at Batseri Village, Sangla, Kinnaur (8,700 ft – 2651.74 m) on May 2, 2014. He ran along a mountainous terrain climbing to an altitude of around 10,000 ft (3,048 m) to reach Mastrang ITBP Camp and then back to Batseri Village in 3 hr.
First gymnastics medal in Commonwealth Games (women)
Dipa Karmarkar won a bronze medal in the artistic women’s vault event during the 2014 Commonwealth Games at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland on July 31, 2014. She is the first woman to clinch a medal in artistic gymnastics.
And finally, since we are a basketball website, we end with…
Most successful basketball coach
The girls’ basketball team from Chhattisgarh, under the able guidance of coach Rajesh Patel, has won 43 gold, 14 silver and 21 bronze medals at the national level. The recent success was the win at the 64th Senior National Basketball championship at Delhi on March 5, 2014.