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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

The greatness game

The definitive sporting moment of the last 20 years may lie outside India.

By: Editorial | Updated: February 20, 2020 11:07:10 am
Sports, Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Sachin Tendulkar, Sports infrastructure, World Cup, Indian Express India’s sporting achievements are not exactly numerous. Two come to mind from the last couple of decades — Dhoni’s World Cup and Abhinav Bindra’s Beijing gold.

It takes Indian sporting enthusiasts voting in an online poll to adoringly elevate a Sachin Tendulkar image to Best Sporting Moment at the Laureus global awards. This country’s billion plus dividend might not translate into Olympic medals or FIFA World Cup participation. But Indians won’t let go of the opportunity to jab a finger in a voting poll, if it can elevate Tendulkar lifted-on-Virat Kohli’s-shoulders after winning the World Cup, as the definitive sporting moment of the last 20 years.

India’s sporting achievements are not exactly numerous. Two come to mind from the last couple of decades — Dhoni’s World Cup and Abhinav Bindra’s Beijing gold. India, of course, won the first World Cup in 1983 and has legitimate bragging rights over a hockey dynasty. But that was a longer time ago. Yet, the power of numbers will be deployed to win India a slice of Laureus glory, which otherwise is out of reach given that it was the age of Messi, Ronaldo, Serena, Simone and Nadal, and Federer.

This is an occasion, perhaps, to recall some of the great sporting moments in recent times. Federer’s GOAT symphony, Phelps gathering eight golds at one Games, Serena dominating the women’s field like only she could and Usain Bolt acing three Olympics. A few moments are unforgettable though greatness eludes: Isner-Mahut going 70-68 in the fifth, Steph Curry hitting a buzzer beater against Oklahoma in 2016, Ronda Rousey’s glorious armbar offensive, Jordan Spieth’s perfect shot to escape the unplayable on No 13 at the Open, Iceland’s run at Euros or Japan downing the Boks. Linsanity had a fine run, and Leicester beat the 5000/1 odds. Australia won the Cricket World Cup thrice. Even England won a World Cup. So much to choose from, if only sports fans could resist the temptation to pat their own backs, or rather their Sachin-carrying shoulders.

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