|As far as sports is concerned, 2007 could not have been better.|
|If 2006 was the year when golfers brought glory to the country, then 2007, to the delight of many, saw the country doing well in a wide array of sports. For a change, it was not just the cricketers who dominated the front and back pages of newspapers. Of course, the hoopla around the T20 World Cup win went a bit overboard, but it was heartening to see the display of many more sportsmen at international sporting arena. No doubt, winning the World Cup was a monumental achievement and deserved to be applauded, but we thought of rewinding to a few non-cricketing achievements that made the country proud.|
|Here are those few moments of 2007 that left an imprint and could be considered defining moments in the years to come by.|
|Sleeping Giant Awakens|
India winning an international football tournament is a rarity. In fact, not many would remember the last time India won a trophy at football. But in September 2007, led by Bhaichung Bhutia, India won the Nehru Cup, defeating Syria in the final.
|While we still might be languishing on the wrong side of FIFA rankings and failed to qualify for the next World Cup, things are looking bright. Players like Sunil Chhetri and Abhishek Yadav had a great year and have the potential to put India on the global football map. Even though the Nehru Cup might not hold too much importance, it does provide the ideal platform for the football team to be on the right track. A lot still needs to be done as far as football is concerned in our country. But the Nehru Cup win did raise this nation's hopes and provided a lot of joy to its fans and was definitely one of the high points in Indian sport.|
|Anand hi Anand|
Ever since Vishwanathan Anand burst on the chess scene, such has been his impact that think chess and you can't think beyond Vishwanathan Anand. And the Bangalorean justified that thought process by winning the World Chess Championship again this year. It's been 20 years since Anand was crowned a grandmaster and hasn't looked back since. His kitty of achievements has swelled with each passing year and has been an inspiration for many Indians to take up the sport.
|What sets him apart from the rest is the fact that he delivers when it matters the most. He was also ranked the number one chess player in the world in March 2007. Had he been British, he would have been knighted a decade ago! The country needs champions like Anand to show the way to the rest and his down-to-earth and humble demeanour makes him a true champion. Take a bow, Vishy!|
|Chak De! India|
It might appear unusual to include a Bollywood movie in the sporting moments of 2007. But the kind of interest and awakening the Shahrukh Khan starrer stirred ensures its presence on this list "" and not on the basis of the movie as much as the subject on which it was based. Women's hockey, prior to the movie's release, had not been recognised inspite of providing moments of glory. But then came Chak De! and hockey was suddenly a national talking point, especially on the women's front. People sat up and took note of how the team was performing and seemed to understand the hardships women hockey players faced while donning the national colours.
|The Chak De! effect seemed to have rubbed off on the men's team as well. The team won the Asia Cup and is on course to qualify for the Beijing Olympics as well. Hockey was in doldrums and inspite of being our national sport, continued to evade public interest. But thanks to Chak De!, curiosity in the national sport was once again aroused.|
|Va Va Vroooommm...|
Will he be able to make a mark in international sports? It's a question that has been hounding Narain Karthikeyan since March 7, 2005. It was the day when Karthikeyan first sat behind the wheel of a Formula One car. And since there have been moments of promise, not many pinned their hopes on Karthikeyan giving something to the countrymen to cheer about. But Karthikeyan defied all odds and critics and came out trumps in China when he drove Team India to it's first ever victory in the A1 GP. Considering the fact that Karthikeyan had to give up his spot as the test driver for Team Williams in Formula One, the win was even more sweeter. And it was a reminder to his detractors of his talent. For all his shortcomings, there is no doubt that Karthikeyan was the one to put India on the motor racing scene and has been the role model for youngsters like Karun Chandhok. While it remains to be seen if Formula One will come calling again or not, Karthikeyan definitely wrote his name in history books in China this year.
Happy Old Year
Aabhas Sharma |