Sunday, 31 July 2016

Rio on the horizon

And so the blog is back in action ... the selection of the largest-ever Indian contingent to the Rio Olympics was indeed the motivation to wield the pen (err.. Keyboard) again.

The Summer Olympics, under the shadows of Zika and threatened by other peace-shattering events around the world in the recent weeks, will finally kick off on 5th August, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It has been a great run-up leading to this Olympics for India - many more athletes qualified than ever before. The number stands at 119 Athletes, beating the previous best of 83 in 2012 London Olympics. The athletes participation will be spread across 65 events in 15 sports.

The sports that will have an Indian competitor are :

  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Field Hockey
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Judo
  • Rowing
  • Shooting
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling
Meanwhile, the anti-doping bodies around the world under the leadership of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to provide clean games and keep the sanctity of the Olympics. A large number of Russian Athletes have been barred from participating at Rio, following positive tests for banned substances. 

India also has its share, with the high profile case of Wrestler Narsingh Yadav under the lens. A couple of more Athletes have tested positive and will miss the plane to Rio.

On the positive side, India makes a comeback in Gymnastics, with Dipa Karmakar qualifying - a first after 1964 Olympics!! 

At the London Olympics, four years ago, India managed just 6 medals (2 Silver, 4 Bronze)... 
lets hope for a much better showing at Rio 2016...

Go India Go !!

Wishing all the very best to the Indian contingent - may you win many more medals than ever before and show the Indian Sports Strength to the world.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Sports Movies in Bollywood

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag film poster

Movies are all-pervasive in an average Indian's life with Bollywood ruling the roost.
It is heartening to see that some producers have chosen subjects that are part of Indian Sports folklore.

The latest offering being Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a biopic on the legendary athlete Milkha Singh, famously called the flying Sikh !!

Milka Singh was the first Indian athlete to win a gold at the Commonwealth Games. He won Gold in 200m and 400m runs at the 1958 Asian Games and won the 400m Gold in 1962 Asian Games.
 His successes while racing in Pakistan earned him the Flying Sikh tagline.

His most memorable career moment was in the Olympics - Milkha clocked 45.60 sec in the 1960 Summer Olympics 400m race to finish fourth beaten by Malcolm Spence of South Africa for bronze - so near yet so far - Interestingly, he was second overall before the start of the final, but lost out to the field and finished fourth- a photo finish result !

Paan Singh Tomar Poster.jpg Another film in recent times that came out was Pan Singh Tomar based on the life of soldier-athlete-decoit Pan Singh . This film is based on the life of Pan Singh, who represented India in the 1958 Asian Games.He was a seven-time National Steeplechase Champion. 

Pan Singh look early retirement to settle some family disputes in his native village. The whole thing grew and he transitioned to a dacoit, who was eventually killed by Police.

Another film from recent times was Chak De India. This film from 2007 told the tale of a former india hockey captain - turned - women's hockey team coach , who leads them to glory.
Chak De! India.jpgIt was an inspiring movie and the title song - Chak de... Chak de India still plays during the games when India plays at home - and it is not only confined to hockey but plays even during other sports.

Are there any of your favorites that you would like to share ? Keep the comments flowing in....

(All posters are taken from wikipedia).

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Saina .. India's answer to China

Saina Nehwal is India's answer to China in the world of Badminton. She has been the nemesis of many a Chinese player and they sure do see her as a formidable opponent.

Saina is now World No. 3 and the top 2 are from China. She has been steadily climbing the rankings. Its indeed an interesting play between Saina and the Chinese players.

Recently, Saina reached the semis of the prestigious All England Badminton Championships.

FLASH  (Mar 27): Saina is nominated for BWF's Female Player of the Year 2012.  She won the bronze at London Olympics in 2012.
Well done Saina !! All the Best !! Hope you win this award.

(Saina is the only non-Chinese among the five contenders for the top annual award among women shuttlers instituted by the BWF.)

Friday, 28 September 2012

Back to Davis Cup...

The Davis Cup tie was held in Chandigarh, India between New Zealand and India. With the cloudy Olympics campaign that India had and the controversies around it, Indian Tennis fans were eagerly awaiting to see how things would unfold.

Rohan Bopanna and Mahesh Bhupathi were banned by AITA as a result of their refusal to pair up with Leander Paes. And with Leander taking a break, a new look Indian Team comprising  Vishnu Vardhan, Yuki Bhambri, Divij Sharan and Sharan Singh took on the Kiwis.

India won 5-0 with Yuki and Vishnu winning the opening singles and then Vishnu and Sharan combined to win the doubles to give India an unassailable lead of 3-0. The reverse singles were dead rubbers which too were won by India.

Kudos to the young guns of the Indian team.

Keep it up guys!!

(By the way, this was an Asia/Ocenia Group 1 Relegation Play-off tie. Winning this keeps India into Group 1.)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Indian Football : Nehru Cup 2012 won

India retained the Nehru Cup Football 2012 defeating the much fancied and higher-ranked Cameroon in the finals at the JwaharLal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on penalties 5-4 after being locked 2-2 after regular and extra time.

(its an internet photo)

This edition saw the participation of the following countries besides India: Syria, Nepal, Maldives and Cameroon. This is an invitational tournament.

India's Journey thru the Tournament
India started the tournament with the match against Syria. The ground was all soggy with rain playing a spoil-sport. The fluency of the game was lost due to the extremely difficult situation of the ground. India utilized long balls and managed to beat Syria 2-1.

Next up was Maldives and India had an easy outing, defeating Maldives 3-0.

The next match was against neighbors Nepal. Nepal and India have played close matches in the past and have been meeting thru tournaments like SAF Games and other local tournaments. This time, too, the match was close and in fact ended in a 0-0 draw.

By this time, India had ensured themselves a place in the finals. The finals was to be played between top 2 teams of the round-robin league.

Finally, in the last  match of the round-robin, India faced Cameroon. Cameroon showed their supremacy and won 1-0.

The Finals
India and Cameroon clashed and with the ground conditions being just fine, a good spectacle was expected. India was all enthusiastic and played their hearts out. The game saw India equalising after being down 1-2 thru a penalty which Indian Skipper Sunil Chhetri converted easily. This brought the scores to 2-2. The score remained after full-time.

Extra time was played and no team could break the citadel of the other in these 15 minutes of extra time. This locked score meant that the winner would be decided by the lottery of penalty kicks. Indeed, its a lottery as many famed players have missed the penalty even in their prime.

The Penalties went on script and it was 5-4 with the last kick to be taken by Cameroon. This is when the things went wrong for Cameroon and the missed penalty meant that India won and regained the Nehru Cup for the third time.

(Interesting fact: While we all rejoiced the win against Cameroon, what was missed was the fact that this was a Cameroon B team.)

Saturday, 18 August 2012

London Olympics 2012 - India's Performance Analysis

The London Olympics 2012 are over and the Indian contingent has returned home. With a final tally of 2 Silver and 4 Bronze, the team stood 55th in the final medals tally. This is the most number of medals won by India in any one Olympic games. Also, India sent the largest contingent this time around - 83 athletes competing in 13 disciplines.This also means that more Athletes qualified this time around.

I would like to analyze India's overall performance in this Part of the Analysis Series.

Medal Winners
India increased the medals tally from 3  to 6 in these games - in Beijing India had 1 Gold and 2 Bronze medals.

At London, the medals came in Wrestling, Badminton, Shooting and Boxing.

The Medals winners were:
SUSHIL KUMAR - Wrestling
VIJAY KUMAR - Shooting
MC MARY KOM - Boxing
SAINA NEHWAL - Badminton

Kudos to these Athletes and many congratulations to them. It was a great moment to see the Indian tricolor being hoisted at the games medal ceremonies - thanks to these Athletes. It gave a feeling of - Yes, we too can win at the world stage !! 

The sure-shots who failed
There were some more athletes that were being touted as sure-shot medal winners. But they failed to deliver. The greatest disappointment was from Deepika Kumari and Ronjan Sodhi. They both were World No.1 in their sports - Archery and Shooting respectively. One would have thought that would reach the finals and would end up on the podium atleast.

Deepika Kumari lost in the 1st round itself and could not advance any further. After the loss, she said that I did not know what happened and before I could think it was all over. People also attributed her loss to the changing wind direction - which is a well known fact - at Lords where the event was held. If that was the case indeed, a World No.1 is expected to adjust and take it in her stride. If it was a case of nerves, then at that stage and a World No.1 is expected to be mentally tough. In the days to come , her coaches would figure out what exactly are the shortcomings and I hope they and Deepika would work to cover these and retain her position.
(On a funny side, there were reports that the coach Limba Ram thought that it was Black Magic which did India in at these games. A lot was expected from the Archery contingent but none could reach the podium, so the frustation of coach is obvious, but Black Magic.. guess he was pushing his luck a bit far :-) . 

While on the Archery contingent, some of the guys shot a 6 !! I would say that a 6 at this stage is simply uncalled for at this level.).

Ronjan Sodhi was also expected to return a medal winner. He, however, lost and failed to qualify for the finals. While I thought he was a cool customer and was an underdog with less limelight on him as Abhinav Bindra was giving him the cover there and he was a World No. 1 also. However,  he missed a few hits and was always catching up and did not make the cut for the finals. One would expect a World No.1 to reach the finals atleast.

From the two instances above, Is it to do with mental toughness? What do you think?

Saturday, 11 August 2012

India's Medals at London Olympics 2012

Update : India has ended the London Olympics 2012 with 2 SILVER and 4 BRONZE - one Silver and Bronze coming in last 2 days. While Sushil Kumar won the Silver in Wrestling on last day, Yogeshwar Dutt won the Bronze on the penultimate day.

So, India has doubled its medal count from Beijing Olympics 2008. However, no Gold came India's way.
As mentioned earlier (below), I will carry out Analysis of India's performance in the coming weeks - let your thoughts flow in and add them as comments please.

India's overall haul on the third-last day of the London Olympics 2012 is :
  • 1 SILVER - won by Vijay Kumar in shooting
  • 3 BRONZE - won by Gagan Narang in shooting, Saina Nehwal in badminton and MC Mary Kom in boxing.
With this, India is at 50th place in the Medals tally.

India's flag-bearer Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt are the only 2 athletes left in the fray. They will be competing in wrestling on 11th, 12th Aug (the games finish on 12th Aug). Lets see if the elusive GOLD can be won by them.

Overall, this is a below-par performance by India given the fact that there were many Athletes who really seemed promising but could not deliver - notably among those were Deepika Kumari, Ronjan Sodhi - both World No. 1s, Abhinav Bindra and the boxers. Most forgivable was India's campaign in Hockey where they have finished 12th and last - their worst performance in Olympics ever !!

Will carry out some analysis posts over the next few weeks and would urge you to think and also contribute your views on India's showing at the London Olympics 2012.