Sports and comebacks go hand-in-hand. For years now we have been great comebacks by teams or players from losing positions to pull-off some remarkably unthinkable wins. The most famous comebacks are those that we see during individual matches but the real heroic stories happen when players fight the more difficult war, the challenges that life throws at them. Here we look at some incredible fighters who fought through life challenges when others could have easily given up.
Here are 11 Sportspersons with inspiring comeback stories –
11. James J. Braddock
Also known as the Cindrella man, James J. Braddock will forever remain a legend in the world of boxing. Having lost several fights due to chronic hand injuries and also having been forced to work on the docks and collect social assistance to feed his family during the Great Depression, James Braddock still managed to become the Heavyweight Champion, an incredible story indeed.
10. Karoly Takacs
Karoly Takacs is a Hungarian shooter who is the first shooter ever to win 2 Olympic gold medals in the 25 metre rapid fire pistol event. If you thought with as an achievement, you would be surprised to know that he won it both with his left hand and his right hand since his right hand was seriously injured by a Grenade explosion. He learnt to shoot with his weaker hand and trained himself to do the unthinkable.
9. Niki Lauda
The legendary Formula 1 drive Niki Lauda was seriously injured in a crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix which saw this car catch flames and the driver himself came close to death after inhaling hot toxic fumes and suffering severe burns. But such was his desire to fight adversity that just six weeks after the incident he was racing against at the Italian Grand Prix.
8. Sandeep Singh
The young India drag flicker from Haryana, Sandeep Singh, in 2006, was seriously injured after being hit by an accidental gunshot in Shatabadi train. The Indian star was almost paralyzed and was forced onto a wheel chair for an entire two years. But to his credit Sandeep not only fought the situation but also regained his position in the Indian Hockey team.
7. Bobby Fischer
Chess is particularly a game played with your brain more than your body and it takes serious toll on one’s mind at times. Arguably, the best chess player to ever grace this planet was Bobby Fischer. Not many know this but by the time he reached the fourth grade, he’d been in and out of six schools and also he went into hiding at the age of 12 because of a nervous breakdown. A year later, at the age of 13 he won the ‘Game of the Century’.
6. Muhammad Ali
Now Muhammad Ali may be one of the most famous athletes in the world but not many know that he refused to be inducted into the armed forces and as result of which he was systematically denied a boxing license in every state and stripped of his passport. Ali though did not lose hope and came back to the win two more World Heavyweight Championships in 1974, and 1978.
5. Petr Cech
The Czech goalkeeper who plays for Arsenal F.C has been one of the best goalkeepers in the world for over a decade now. But Petr Cech suffered a fractured skull during a match and was sidelined for a long time. Cech who now plays with a protective gear on his head, returned to football and established himself as one of the all-time greats in the history of the sport.
4. Mary Kom
In a country where the existence of Women’s boxing was next to negligible, Mary Kom stood out among the rest as she became a five-time World Amateur Boxing champion, and also is the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships. But it was not all smooth sailing as she had other responsibilities to manage too. Mary Kom got married, had twins and came back to boxing to win the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics for India.
3. Arunima Singh
The story of Arunima Singh might not be as famous as some of the others on the list but her achievement is probably the greatest among the rest. Arunima Singh lost her leg after pushed from a running train by thieves in 2011 while she was resisting them. She was national level volleyball player and she showed her champion determination to create history by fighting through adversity and becoming the first amputee to climb Mount Everest.
2. Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar does not need any introduction in the world of sports. Arguably, the greatest batsman in the history of the sport, Sachin’s career was not all roses though. As a batsman one of the greatest assets one utilizes is the elbow and Sachin had a recover from a rare injury which is usually seen in tennis players called ‘The Tennis Elbow’. Sachin not only battled through that but also scored 20 more centuries and 31 half centuries for the country.
1. Yuvraj Singh
One of the greatest moments in Indian cricket in the last decade has been winning the 2011 World Cup after a wait of 28 long years and Yuvraj Singh played a pivotal role in it as he helped India win the World Cup with the bat and the ball, winning the Player of the Tournament world in the process. Yuvraj Singh suffered a life threatening rare form of cancer but the fighter that we all know that Yuvi is, he fought through the pain and the cancer, returned to cricket, won back his position in the team and scored a century on his return. A Champion performer indeed.