Sunil Chhetri 53, PV Sindhu 5, Mary Kom 8: India's decade in numbers

Sunil Chhetri has 53 goals from 82 matches for India during this decade. AIFF


Sunil Chhetri has 53 goals from 82 matches for India during this decade, giving him a goals-per-game average of 64.6 percent. That translates to about two goals every three matches, better than Lionel Messi, who has 57 goals from 94 games during the same period, about three goals every five games.

For context, Cristiano Ronaldo scored four times every five games during this period, with 96 matches for Portugal fetching him 77 goals. Chhetri does match Ronaldo in one regard -- both men averaged more than one goal per game for a calendar year twice, as opposed to once for Messi. Chhetri scored three from two in 2014, his joint least most productive year in the decade, and eight from six in 2018. Ronaldo has nine hat tricks, and Messi six, which compare favourably to Chhetri's two -- against Vietnam in 2010, and Chinese Taipei in 2018, respectively.

Chhetri has scored against 26 FIFA member nations, spanning four confederations, and 13 goals made 2011 his most productive year. Interestingly, even if one removes all friendlies and invitational events like the Nehru Cup, King's Cup and the Intercontinental Cup, Chhetri still has 25 goals during this past decade.


Dipa Karmakar, the first Indian gymnast in 52 years to have qualified for the Olympics, missed a podium finish in the women's vault at the 2016 Rio Games by just 0.150 points.

Dipa produced the Produnova vault, rated the highest at 7.000 on the difficulty scale, in the final, and actually outscored everybody except eventual gold medallist Simone Biles of U.S. in the second of her two attempts with a score of 15.266.

However, she lost out because of a first jump that produced 14.866, joint-lowest among the eight finalists, and Guilia Steingruber of Switzerland took took bronze. Where Steingruber finished with 15.216, Dipa capped off her maiden Olympics outing with a score of 15.066, the tiniest of margins away from a historic moment in Indian gymnastics.


The number of singles medals PV Sindhu has accrued in World Championships, all in this decade, making her only the second woman after China's Zhang Ning with five singles Worlds medals to her name. Sindhu became the first Indian player to win gold at the Worlds at the 2019 edition of the Championships, adding to her two silver (2017, 2018) and two bronze (2013, 2014) medals. Among all players, China's Lin Dan is the player with the most singles medals at the Worlds, with seven to his name.

To put Sindhu's tally into context, South Korea and Denmark have as many women's singles medals overall as the Indian does. Only Indonesia and China have more.

It has been a productive decade for Indian badminton, with nine of India's 10 total Worlds medals coming in the last 10 years. In addition to Sindhu's haul, Saina Nehwal won silver in 2015 and bronze in 2017, B Sai Praneeth won bronze in 2019 and Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponnappa won doubles bronze in 2011. Prakash Padukone, of course, won bronze in 1983.


India won 41 gold medals at the Asian Games this decade, but can you guess which sport fetched them the most golds, by a fair distance of almost four times their nearest competition?

Athletics had 15 gold medals, well ahead of kabaddi, boxing, shooting and tennis, which had four golds each. Wrestling fetched India three golds, while there were two golds in rowing. Sports where India won one gold each were archery, bridge, cue sports, hockey and squash.


Before current incumbent Graham Reid of Australia, the Indian men's hockey team have had seven different foreign coaches this decade, with none of them able to last more than two years at a stretch, indicating the unstable nature of the job. Reid is one of four Australians employed during this period, which began with Spain's Jose Brasa leading India at the start of the decade.

Since Brasa's reign, others in the hot seat before Reid have chronologically included Michael Nobbs, Ric Charlesworth, Terry Walsh (all Australian), Paul van Ass, Roelant Oltmans and Sjoerd Marijne (all from the Netherlands). There have been unexpected sackings, coaches opting out on their own, and even an unprecedented swapping of the men's and women's coaching jobs between Marijne and Harendra Singh, that was reversed when the latter was sacked to make way for Reid.

The inconsistency in coach appointments have also reflected in India's indifferent showing, though they have started a pleasant trend of podium finishes in recent global events. Their two wins and nine losses across two Olympics appearances is their worst cumulative show at the Games on both counts, even though a quarterfinal finish at 2016 made it their first knockout appearance at the Games since 1980.


The number of medals India won at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, its highest-ever tally at a single edition of the Games and the only time it has gone past the 100 mark. It included 38 gold medals, allowing India to finish above England in second place, its best-ever showing at the Commonwealth Games. It was perhaps fitting that the performance came in New Delhi in only the second time the CWG was held in Asia. For context, India's next best medals tally was 69 medals at the 2002 Games in Manchester.

Also, 79: India won 79 gold medals across three editions of the Commonwealth Games this decade. The biggest contributor to that tally was shooting with 25, followed by 20 in wrestling and 10 in weightlifting. Boxing and badminton managed six and five gold medals, respectively.

There were several notable firsts, too. In 2010, Geeta Phogat won India's first CWG gold in women's wrestling, while Krishna Poonia's women's discus throw medal was India's first athletics gold at the CWG in 52 years. In 2014, Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa won India's first gold in squash at the Games, while Parupalli Kashyap won India its first men's singles gold at the event in 32 years.


The number of Davis Cup doubles rubbers Leander Paes won this decade, the sixth of those victories (in 2018) taking him past Italy's Nicola Pietrangeli for the most doubles wins in the tournament's history.

With a 7-4 win-loss record, this decade was the least productive one for Paes, who entered the 2010s with a 37-9 win-loss record. Arguably the last great Davis Cup doubles match Paes produced was in the 2014 World Group Playoff tie against Serbia. Although India eventually lost the tie 3-2, Paes and Rohan Bopanna produced a thrilling, come-from-behind, five-set win that kept India alive in the tie.


When MC Mary Kom won bronze at the 2019 Worlds, she became the only boxer, male or female, to win eight World Championship medals, surpassing the seven of Cuba's Felix Savon, also a six-time amateur world champion. She won two golds during this decade, the second of which came at the 2018 Worlds in New Delhi, making Mary Kom the only six-time women's amateur boxing world champion.

Mary Kom's numbers are even more impressive considering that the women's world championships have only been held since 2001, meaning she has not medalled in only three of its 11 editions. Moreover, she won medals in each of the first six Championships, including five straight golds, with a break for marriage and childbirth sandwiched in between. Among the women, the next most accomplished boxer is Ireland's Katie Taylor, who won five golds and one bronze in the 60kg division from 2006 to 2016.

During this decade, Mary Kom also won an Olympic bronze in London 2012, the first edition of the Games in which women's boxing was included. She became the first Indian woman boxer to win gold at the Asian Games in 2014 as well as the first Indian woman boxer to win gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2018.


With eight medals, this was the most successful decade for India at the Olympic Games. The three silvers and five bronze medals won by India across London 2012 and Rio 2016 also improved on the previous decade-long count for both medals, though India had to go a decade without an Olympic gold for only the third decade since the 1920s. In fact, here's a fun fact for those numerically inclined -- when the first medal events start in Tokyo, it would have been 4,366 days since India's last gold.

Before this decade, the 2000s had seen India win five medals, which included the first individual gold won at the Games by Abhinav Bindra in shooting at Beijing 2008. This decade saw some other firsts though -- a first individual silver by a woman (PV Sindhu), the first individual medal in badminton (Saina Nehwal), the first individual medals for women in boxing (Mary Kom) and wrestling (Sakshi Malik), and of course, Sushil Kumar became the first Indian to win two individual medals for India at the Games.