Pride in our collective sporting achievements, regret at the opportunities missed due to lack of support at the right time for our athletes and despair at the inefficiencies and corruption which have dented our image in the world outside. That sums up the past 35 years for me. The 10,Pride in our collective sporting achievements, regret at the opportunities missed due to lack of support at the right time for our athletes and despair at the inefficiencies and corruption which have dented our image in the world outside. That sums up the past 35 years for me. The 10 memorable moments in Indian sports, not in any order of merit, are:1998 KPS Gill sacks six members of Asiad gold winning hockey team The Indian contingent danced through the night at the Asiad Village, celebrating the hockey gold which Dhanraj Pillay and his team won at the Bangkok Asian Games after a gap of 32 years only to experience despair and anger after a week when KPS Gill, the then president of the Indian Hockey Federation, removed Pillay, Ashish Balal (the goalkeeper instrumental for the victory in the final) and four other key members from the national team. Thankfully the our athletes have given us many more moments of pride that outnumber such self-goals.1983 India win the Cricket World CupKapil Dev With The World CupRepresenting a country obsessed with cricket, Kapil Dev, playing with panache and fearless abandon, led his team to an improbable victory at the Lords in London, and destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the mighty West Indies. It was India’s first World Cup triumph and one that was cherished by every Indian across the world.1999 Anil Kumble takes all 10 wickets in a Test innings in DelhiThere is something so special about being the first ever. To achieve a feat which no other countryman has in your discipline and when it is done in a competitive arena and that too in a Test between arch rivals Pakistan and India, then it just makes that memorable moment so much sweeter. There are only two names-the other being England’s Jim Laker-against this record in the 133-year-old history of Test cricket.advertisement2008 Abhinav Bindra becomes the first Indian to win an individual Olympic Gold medal with a stellar show in the 10m air rifle finalAbhinav Bindra In 2008I have always maintained that India’s sporting identity will be defined on the world stage by her achievements at the greatest sporting spectacle on earth-the Olympics. And for me, Bindra’s gold, India’s first Olympic individual gold, will always be the gold that will be remembered for instilling belief into the generations of athletes who came after him.1996 Leander Paes wins bronze at Olympic Games in AtlantaAn indelible image in my mind is the visual of Leander Paes on the victory stand at Atlanta and tears rolling down his cheeks. It encapsulates the intensity of patriotic emotion experienced by athletes when they win a medal for their country. He has achieved great personal milestones, but that Olympic bronze will be the one that the country will always remember.1980 Prakash Padukone wins All England badminton titleHe proved that nice men can win. He proved that physical fitness and dexterity at the nets can go hand in hand. “When I went to Indonesia and saw the top players train there, I realised they were far ahead in fitness and stamina. I came back and changed the way I trained. I worked harder and longer and eventually this paid off,? says Padukone.1986 P.T. Usha’s four gold and a silver in the Asian Games at SeoulP.T.Usha In 1986She is the golden queen of Indian Athletics. Her authority and dominance in Asian track and field events made her a household name in India and, more importantly, lifted the image and future of Indian women athletes. So what if she went on to miss the Olympic bronze by a hair’s breadth. Her performance at the Seoul Asian Games catapulted her again into the limelight and made other Asian countries look up and notice.2000 Viswanathan Anand wins World chess ChampionshipAsk any Indian sportsperson who they think is India’s greatest contemporary sportsperson and an overwhelming majority will take Viswanathan Anand’s name almost instinctively. Path-finders and players who have forged ahead and defied the supremacy of established sportspersons and nations and broken long traditions are special. Anand took to a sport which was dominated by the Russians, the Americans and the Europeans. He discarded the psychological timidity which had afflicted many Indian sportspersons before him, and wore his boldness and courage in international tournaments with ease and confidence, converting his 1987 Junior World Championship victory into the World Championship title in 2000. He went on to win three more world titles but the first will be his and India’s most memorable.advertisement2010 Mary Kom wins her fifth world Boxing championshipWhat can you say about a woman who wins her fifth world boxing title in the 46-48kg weight category? The feat is memorable when one considers that she has remained unbeaten since 2002 in the World Boxing Champions hip in her category and that the 2008 world title was won after she took a break in 2006 to get married and deliver twins.2009 Saina Nehwal becomes the first Indian woman to win a Super Series tournament at JakartaPrakash Padukone had done it and her coach P. Gopichand had also won international titles in badminton. Saina Nehwal, however, forged a new path to become the first Indian woman player to assert herself on the world stage and audaciously questioned the dominance of the Indonesians and Chinese.
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