2023: A year of highs and lows for Indian sports

The ICC World Cup defeat was a hard pill to swallow for India sports fans

Indian cricket fans Cricket fans watching the World Cup match between India and Australia | Reuters

2023 was indeed a pulsating year for Indian sporting fans. The prowess of the country's ace athletes at times made the crowds roar, while there were also instances of silence enforced by disappointing results. Here is a back-pedal to some of these events.

1) SAFF Championship: India scores the goal!


The biennial South Asian Football Federation Championship (SAFF) witnessed Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan competing alongside two potent guest teams -- Kuwait and Lebanon. This year, it was India's turn to host the tournament with matches being played at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru from 21st June 2023 to 4th July 2023. 

India and Kuwait qualified from Group A while Bangladesh and Lebanon progressed from Group B. In the knockout stage, Kuwait beat Bangladesh with a goal from Abdullah Al-Buloushi during extra time. India faced Lebanon and emerged victorious 4-2 through penalties. 

India and Kuwait met again at the finals and the fiercely contested match ended 1-1. Defending champions India emerged victorious in the shootout that ensued (5-4). Sunil Chhetri was the top goal scorer of the championship with 5 goals in as many matches.

2) Asian Games: India racks up 107 medals

The 2023 Asian Games was held in Hangzhou, China from 23rd September 2023 to 8th October 2023.  

India finished 4th in the continental event with a total of 107 medals – 28 gold, 38 silver and 41 bronze. China (383) and Japan (188 ) finished first and second respectively, while South Korea came in third with 190 medals (Japan had more gold medals). 

indian athletes in asian games - pti

For India, its tally of 107 was a record haul --  a significant increase from 70 at the previous 2018 Jakarta Games. Archery, cricket, field hockey and kabaddi were some of the events in which India excelled at Hangzhou. 

3) Asian Kabaddi Championship: India remains reigning champions

The 9th edition of the Asian Kabaddi Championship was held in Busan, South Korea, from 27th June 2023 to 30th June 2023. It was conducted after a long six-year hiatus. 


This year, six countries participated – Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, the Republic of Korea and defending champions India. The matches were held in two phases – the league phase and the finals. India emerged champions once again by defeating familiar foes Iran, with a score of 42-32. India managed to win all the 6 matches they played in the competition. 

Chinese Taipei emerged second runner-up in the competition. 

4) Cricket World Cup 2023: A Heartbreak at home

Cricket is always a crowd-puller in India. The excitement was at its peak when the country hosted the ICC ODI World Cup 2023. The Men in Blue were on a full-fledged winning streak from the beginning. The World Cup also witnessed the return of India’s trump card in the bowling department, Jasprit Bumrah, to the squad. The exceptional bowling display from Mohammed Shami was decisive in most games. 

Indian cricket team

The delight reached the zenith when Rohit Sharma's team made their way to the finals against Australia. India, batting first, was derailed for 240/10 in their 50 overs. The sluggish wicket and the dew factor made the Kangaroos clinch their sixth World Cup title. 

5) Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup: Indian girls seize glory

The Indian under-19 women led by Shafali Verma beat England and were crowned as champions of the inaugural U19 Women’s T20 World Cup. The tournament held in South Africa caught sight of most experts in the cricketing field. In the grand finale, India took on England. 

India, bowled out the English out for 68 runs in 17.4 overs to register a mammoth win of 7 wickets. The comprehensive victory was indeed a hat-tip for coach Nooshin Al Khadeer, as the U19 Indian team has not lost a tournament she has coached in over the last two-odd years.

6) World Athletics Championship: Superman Neeraj


The 19th edition of the World Athletics Championship was held in Budapest, Hungary from 19th to 27th August 2023. 28 athletes from India took part in the event. Many like Rohit Yadav and Tajinderpal Singh Toor had to withdraw themselves from the tournament due to long-term injuries. 

While the 4 x 400 meters relay made its place in the Asian records, the only medal for India was bagged by the ‘golden boy’ from Tokyo, Neeraj Chopra. Neeraj notched up the golden point by marking 88.17 metres in his second throw itself. India finished the tournament in 18th position, at par with 5 other countries.

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