Recommendations for the shelf - Sports biographies and autobiographies

Inspiration does come in all shapes and sizes and so do sports. Yes, you will understand the depth of this statement as you get through this article. We bring to you a humble bunch of autobiographies and biographies of and by the renowned names of Indian sports.

Akhada: The Authorized Biography of Mahavir Singh Phogat 

By Saurabh Duggal 

A compelling tale where women (daughters) were empowered by a man (father) to take up a sport and scale international victory. This book is about Mahavir Singh Phogat hailing from the state of Haryana. A man who faced and fought social condemnation for training his girls in wrestling who went on to win medals and back national and international acclaim. Namely Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari got to live a life of recognition, something they could not have even dreamt of given the cultural boundaries set for women in Haryana. The unerring determination of Mahavir Phogat has forever changed the scenario of women’s wrestling in the country despite constant questioning and doubt plantation from everyone around him, even his own family. 

A Shot at History: My Obsessive Journey to Olympic Gold

By Abhinav Bindra with Rohit Brijnath

This book records the transition from a very low to a very high and sheer determination all throughout. This revised and updated edition talks about Abhinav Bindra’s victory at the London Olympics held in 2012. He went on to become the first India to win an individual Olympic gold medal and a world championship gold medal. But this did not come easy. Back in 2004 during the Olympics, he was defeated by a freak occurrence. This made a huge impact on him and changed him as a shooter. He put together science, extreme hard work, stubbornness and an unfailing will to have nothing but the best for himself. This book is a log of what a true sportsmanship spirit looks like - learning to lose, trying to win again and managing great success. 

The Test of My Life 

By Yuvraj Singh

A very popular and respectable name is Indian cricket is Yuvraj Singh. And this book is his story, inspirational, genuine and courageous. What made Yuvraj the person and the cricketer he is today is his quality upbringing, loaded with life and cricket lessons by his father. He talks about moments, struggles and experiences that have shaped up his life. From receiving the Man of the Tournament in his debut match to hitting six sixes in an over to being in the winning team of 2011 world cup and to fighting throat cancer, this record has it all. It explores his down to earth personality and ethical nature, somethings which were taught to him from the very start of his early age. 

The Race of My Life

By Milkha Singh 

As the title suggests this book is all about running and running. The autobiography of Milkha Singh is about a young boy who had a narrow escape from death during the partition of India and Pakistan during 1947. While he could make it to the other side, most of his family didn't. Most of his childhood was spent as an impoverished refugee who went onto becoming a young army recruit. It was during this tenure that he ran his first race and won. And the athlete in him was born. He not only won India's first-ever gold medal in athletics at the Commonwealth Games but was also hailed as the ‘Flying Sikh’ in Pakistan. His life is a series of triumph, failures and temptations that surrounded him even on the field. Till date, he enjoys the place in the name of most towering figures in the history of Indian sports. 

Mind Master: Winning Lessons from a Champion's Life

by Vishwanathan Anand and Susan Ninan

Vishwanathan Anand is believed to be amongst few people who are capable of thinking strategically at light’s speed and overcoming the direst challenges. Anand’s quest began at the age of 6, from when there has been no looking back. 

The first World Chess Champion from Asia, he emerged on to the world stage when chess was not that famous as a game, climbed up to become World No. 1, won five World Championship titles and tournaments in all possible formats of the game. In this book, Anand has spoken about a lifetime of chess games that he has played, how he dealt with his opponents, role of strategy and importance of preparedness. The most interesting reason to pick up this book is the life lessons regarding emotions, rapidly changing realities and risking that Anand has spoken about. These lessons can prove to be a great tool for navigating life’s challenges.

Books continue to be a man’s best friend. Befriend a book, take some time off the screen as you trance into a world of imagination.

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