Sportsperson of the Year-India
There were innumerable nominations running in my mind. MS Dhoni for his memorable captaincy ( Lucky !!!), Sachin for initiating 12000 league, Vijender for his boxing feat, Vishy for his world championship, Saina Nehwal for her Junior World Championship and breaking in to top 10, Pankaj Advani his World Championship,Sushil Kumar for his Wrestling Bronze or Jeev Milkha Singh for becoming the Asia’s Best Golfer. It was a wonderful year for Indian Sports but the jewel in the crown was Abhinav Bindra.
I was doing a quiz that day in Ethiraj for their library celebrations. I waited till 10.30 at my home to see Abhinav hitting almost a perfect score in the last shot and I was yelling with happiness. I was in cloud nine and silently tears rolled down my eyes to see my National Anthem being played in the Olympics after 28 long years.
I tried to get a good photo of his in the Internet and wanted to break the news in the quiz. I dedicated that day’s quiz to two people- one was Sujatha,my favorite writer ( as it was my first quiz after his demise and it was a literary quiz) and Abhinav. When his photo was displayed on the screen, there was a thunderous applause in the hall. The girls were clapping,hooting, yelling with exuberence of happiness.
On the dedication note I said “I have been watching Olympics since when I was 6 years old (Seoul). Everytime I would sit and wait for that moment when the Indian National Anthem would be sung. It never happened and this guy has made it for us”.
The best part was his expression after winning it and he said ” I shot better in last olympics but today was my day”. I salute his parents for supporting him with private shooting range and the confidence they had in him.
At least now, let the govt. take some initiatives in improving sports like Shooting, Wrestling, Boxing, Badminton, Table Tennis and even Football ( Our Team became one of the 16 best teams in Asia)
Hail Abhinav for his wonderful feat and making India Proud. Kudos to Indian sports people who made this a wonderful 2008.
His blog post after winning the Gold.It speaks a lot about his thoughts about Indian Sports.
Sportsperson of the Year – International
Am I going to write about Tiger Woods? Lewis Hamilton? Felippe Massa? Justin Henin Hardenne? Cristiano Ronaldo? Lionel Messi? Gramae Smith? Michael Phelps ( A strong contender with 8 Golds in Olympics) Nope.. There was one guy inspite of my hatred towards him, impressed me with his sports achievement. Tall, long haired and extremely bad dressed Rafael Nadal.
Let’s keep this straight. I hate both Federer and Nadal. I hate them as much as I hate 20-20 cricket. Both suck big time and it’s a waste of time to watch. But conquering both clay and grass is one of the rarest achievements in Tennis. Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Arthur Ashe, Ivan Lendl are few of those great players who could not achieve it.
You have to play in two different speeds in both the turfs. This year was Nadal’s. He reinstated his reign of clay once again and broke the reign of Federer in Wimbledon. It should have been painful for Federer because he lost a life time chance of equalling Bjorn Borg’s record of 5 consecutive wimbledon titles. Anyways the best player won.
Nadal proves to me the sportsperson of the year because he won against the best possible opposition he could play against ( Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps loses here). Let’s see whether he could repeat it again in 2009.
P.S: I dunno whether someone can beat the Golden Grandslam of Steffi ( all the 4 open titles with Olympic Gold).. That lady was a class act (May be her Son)
Failure of the Year:
Certainly not Sania Mirza although she qualifies for it. Liu Xiang – it was a bad injury. Roger Federer- his opposition was better than him, Felippe Massa- luck or conspiracy? ( My take it’s a conspiracy) but there was one big team which dug their hole for themselves combined with the wonderful performances of it’s opposition. Failure of the year goes to The Australian Cricket Team.
I think it all started with the Sydney Test match. The way they conducted on field, off the field comments, arrogance of Ponting lead to the eventual reselience of Indian Cricket Team. The wonderful win of Perth and following it up with the ODI series win after 1985, the australian empire started to fall like the Trojan Empire.
The coffins were ready and India started hitting the first nails with the home series win. The next nail was by the Proteas as they chased down 414 in Perth.
I say they dug the hole by themselves because the previous Australian played to it’s strengths – the bowlers. Once the legends ( Mcgrath Warne) retired, the bowling has become inept to take 20 wickets in a Test Match.
It was not the Ponting’s captaincy that they won, it’s because he had a wonderful team at his disposal. Once his strengths exposed like a naked lady, he is struggling to cover his modesty and jumping in to word fights rather bat fights.
While I am typing this, they are fighting back with the Boxing Day test match in Melbourne. They may even win it but the real truth is they are guarding a losing empire. Some day in 2009, the Australian Cricket Empire will fall.
P.S: Everybody is praising MS Dhoni for his captaincy. But i would not agree because he has the best Indian Team he could ever get with a strong opening pairs (bowling & batting), the celebrated middle order and a world class spinner ( doesn’t it look like the old Australian Team). Let’s wait and see, when the middle order retires.