Jiving to the top
When the year dawned, Jeev Milkha Singh promised himself that he would break into the world's top-50 by following "process and routine". Things went with the script and what followed were four titles — the final one coming after overcoming personal grief — across three tours and the Asian Tour crown. It heralded his arrival as a "global player" and the "ability to hold on amidst pressure". Come 2009, the focus will be to dazzle on the USPGA.
Perfecting target practice
Indian shooters were always in a league of their own, and they had proved it at the 2006 World Championships in Zagreb (Croatia), bagging two gold. Still, carping critics kept saying they didn't have the temperament for the Olympics. But 10m air rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra proved them wrong at Beijing. More than the medal, it was the collective effort of the entire contingent that caught the eye. They surpassed expectations and set a few records straight. A new era for Indian sports has dawned and it bodes well for the future.
Knocking ’em out
Just when one thought Indian boxers couldn't pack a punch at the big stage, they threw a mighty one to make the world sit up. For the first time at the Olympics, India bagged a bronze — Bhiwani boy Vijender, who could give top male models a run for the money, surprised everyone by reaching the semifinals. Then Nanao Singh (48kg) returned from Mexico with gold round his neck, while puny 48kg woman boxer M.C. Marykom became the world champion for the fourth time. Shall we expect a power-packed punch in London 2012. And don’t forget the bravehearts Akhil Kumar and Jitender who reached the quarters at the Olympics.
Forget them not
We should not forget the Indian football team led by Bhaichung Bhutia that won the AFC Challenge Cup in New Delhi. The 4-1 drubbing of Tajikistan at the Ambedkar Stadium ensured Bob Houghton’s boys qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup in Doha. The match will also be remembered for Sunil Chhetri’s hattrick, the Delhi boy becoming the first Indian to achieve such a feat in a final of an international tournament. Doha, here they come!
Finally, Gill goes
With votes in his pocket, no one thought KPS Gill could be dislodged as president of Indian Hockey Federation even after the men's team failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in eight decades. But then, a sting operation that showed IHF secretary K. Jothikumaran allegedly accepting bribe for selecting a player, proved to be the last straw. The IOA finally suspended the managing committee led by Gill and gave charge to the ad-hoc committee.