Archive for the ‘sport’ Category

Another World Champion from India

November 12, 2008

The country noticed when Vishy Anand defeated Vladmir Kramnik, to retain the World Chess Championship.

The country broke into raptures when the Indian cricket team defeated the Aussies 2-0 in the Border-Gavaskar Test Series.

All this in the last couple of weeks.

Last week, not many in the country noticed, when another Indian set a world record.

Gagan Narang won the 10 M Air Rifle event in the shooting World Cup at Bangkok, scoring 703.5, thereby setting a new world record. This is the same event that Abhinav Bhindra won Gold in Beijing. Now Gagan is the World Champion in that event. While Abhinav did not participate in Bangkok, it is clear that there is not much difference between the two. Both are world champs. But Karma has given them different results! One won the Olympics, and became immortal. The other won the World Cup, set a new world record, and yet, hasnt found super prominence in the hall of Indian fame. Pity.

In Beijing, Gagan was quite unlucky not to have made it to the finals of the event.  He narrowly missed getting into the eight-man final of the 10m air rifle event as he finished ninth in qualifications despite tying for fifth place with four others at 595. The others moved up as Narang lost out on countback. Incidentally, Bindhra was 596 – just a point ahead of Gagan, and he went on to win Gold. And the sportsmen who won the silver and bronze in Beijing, finished 3rd and 4th respectively in the Bangkok world cup.

Sure feels good to see some Indian names figuring in the list of World Champions. Way to go! And here’s wishing that Gagan too becomes as rich and famous as Vishy, Abhinav, and MS Dhoni!

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Sushil Kumar – Pehelwaan

August 20, 2008

It was great seeing an Indian wrestler pinning his opponent down on the mat and moving on to the quarterfinals. Sushil Kumar did that today when he defeated Albert Batyrov of Belarus in the 68 Kgs freestyle wrestling contest at Olympics.

Pl note that Albert Batyrov was the European Champion last year.

The first round was on even footing but Sushil did score more and the score was 1 Sushil to nil Albert. In the second round, Albert managed to spin Sushil around the score went to 4 for Albert. In the third, Sushil was clearly ahead, as he pinned Albert down and nearly put him on his back as well – except that the strong Belarus-ian used all his strength to lie face down on the mat. The round put Sushil upto 7 points and victory.

He is now through to quarters. He had actually lost the first match to the Ukranian wrestler Andriy Stadnik, but continued in the event, thanks to the principle of Repechage – a practice that allows participants that failed to meet qualifying standards by a small margin, or those who lose to top competitors in the early rounds, to continue to the next round.

(btw: Indian wrestling always brings to mind the great coach, Guru Hanuman, who trained ever so many Asian-games medal winning Indian wrestlers. Guru Hanuman was legend.)

Great stuff Sushil! Just one more win, and you give India a medal more. Best Luck!

And now, wow, a boxer…

August 15, 2008
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“Dreams are not those which we see in our sleep, dreams are those which doesn’t let us sleep”.

– Akhil Kumar

Indian Boxer who defeated world champion Sergey Vodapoyanov of Russia to enter quarter finals of Olympics bantanweight

You can watch snippets at this youtube link

And do read this wonderful blog post  about Akhil…
 

Anup Sridhar

August 10, 2008

It was great seeing Anup Sridhar defeat the Portuguese player, Marco Vasconcelos, in straight sets in  Badminton, in Beijing today. Frankly, I havent been keeping up with Badminton news at all…. And so I looked up the net on Anup. And I find that he has been to the quarter finals of Badminton World Cup in 2007…. And he beat the 2005 World Cup champion Taufik Hidayat during that run to the quater finals. Except for the challenges that he has faced because of injuries, it does appear that here is a player who could have probably made it to the very top.

Lets hope he does that now. Prakash Padukone has apparently said that Anup is a medal prospect. He seemed to be in perfect shape today. He has power, deftness, and is cool. Wish him all the luck…

In one of his recent interviews, he said “As you know, there isn’t much money in badminton and it is very expensive to hire a personal coach. I only could afford it this year…” 

How does it happen that a player like Anup is not able to afford a high quality personal coach? I guess the media has some blame-share. Cricket clogs up so much mindshare of media and sponsors that other games and sports-greats are so disadvantaged, that unless they win an Olympic or a Word Cup medal, they are not in the limelight. And so are denied earnings from Ads etc. Tell you what, Anup would beat any of the current cricket or even film folks as a face of a product…

btw, Anup has his own blog.

Look it up at http://anupsridhar.blogspot.com/

Beautiful Hockey

March 12, 2008

India has not qualified in Hockey for Beijing Olympics. And the media is spitting venom. “National Shame”, “Chuck Dey”, and more. This mediadolescenct self-righteous rage shows little wisdom. One newspaper carried a front-page a photograph of the players, where they stood, faces down, forlorn – like a bunch of fellows caught in some illegal act.

Why hang the players? 

Did the same team not beat Mexico in this tournament with a score of 18 goals to 1? Yes. That’s right…18 to 1. When was the last time we saw a score like that in Hockey? Perhaps during the times of the great Dhyan Chand. When India defeated USA 24 – 1 (1932 Olympics, Los Angeles).

And with thoughts like these and such, my mind goes back to some hockey memories. The brilliant Ashok Kumar, son of Dhyan Chand, blazing his way as outside-right, with a wand for a hockey stick. What a dashing dribbler he was. And Govinda, his centre-forward teammate. Zafar Iqbal the forward. Ajit Pal Singh, who one of the greatest centre-halfs the world has seen. Surjit Singh the back, and penalty corner scorer. Aslam Sher Khan, Mukhbain Singh, full backs. Balbir Singh…Shahid, the great Shahid…Dhanraj Pillai, Baskaran…Shankar Lakshman, the goal keeper…All great players.

And memories of legends before. The great Dhyan Chand, surely the Don Bradman of Hockey. The man who could score from anywhere, ten times out of ten chances. Roop Singh, of 1936 Berlin Olympics team – of whom it is said that the Germans named a street after him. And so many others.

Yes, India is a great field hockey team. Artistes on field. Dribble like magic. Dhyan chand has played barefoot! But the advent of artificial turf was perhaps a dampener to sub-continental hockey. Also, penalty corner goals became far more the rule, and India somehow has not been able to machine-master it like the Europeans. I would rather see a nice dribble, pass, scoop, push, and a field goal strike, than a penalty corner guillotine goal.

What say you? Hockey memories anybody?