Kunal Pradhan

Kunal Pradhan is Managing Editor, Hindustan Times.

Articles by Kunal Pradhan

87.58m that could change everything

India getting an Olympic medal in athletics seemed impossible enough. Then Neeraj Chopra went and got a gold. Can this spark a track and field revolution in India?

Neeraj Chopra brought India it's first-ever Olympic medal in track & field. (Getty Images)
Neeraj Chopra brought India it's first-ever Olympic medal in track & field. (Getty Images)
Updated on Aug 08, 2021 06:39 AM IST

Tokyo 2020: The hunt for the impossible treble

'Flying Finn' Paavo Nurmi and 'Czech Locomotive' Emil Zatopek belong to the rarest club in running. In Tokyo, Dutch runner Sifan Hassan almost joined them as she chased a distance running treble.

Sifan Hassan of Netherlands celebrates after winning the bronze medal in the Women's 1500m Final. (Getty Images)
Sifan Hassan of Netherlands celebrates after winning the bronze medal in the Women's 1500m Final. (Getty Images)
Updated on Aug 06, 2021 10:18 PM IST

Tokyo 2020: The moment to build big is here

India's Olympic hockey medal is the dawn of a new day. Here's what we need to do to build on this beginning.

Indian players pose for group photographs as they celebrate their victory over Germany in the men's field hockey bronze medal match, at the 2020 Summer Olympics.(PTI)
Indian players pose for group photographs as they celebrate their victory over Germany in the men's field hockey bronze medal match, at the 2020 Summer Olympics.(PTI)
Updated on Aug 06, 2021 02:18 PM IST

Tokyo 2020: The moment to build big is here

The 18-member squad, which scripted this moment with blood, sweat, guts and grit over two frenetic weeks, could go down in history as the pioneers of India’s hockey renaissance.

Indian players pose for photographs as they celebrate their victory over Germany in the men's field hockey bronze medal match, at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics(PTI)
Indian players pose for photographs as they celebrate their victory over Germany in the men's field hockey bronze medal match, at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics(PTI)
Published on Aug 05, 2021 11:08 PM IST

Echoes of history in Olympic glory

If there’s one activity in India to which some parallel can be drawn, one sport that can learn from this example, it is wrestling.

Wrestler Ravi Dahiya has the chance to win India's first gold medal at the Olympics since 2008. (Getty Images)
Wrestler Ravi Dahiya has the chance to win India's first gold medal at the Olympics since 2008. (Getty Images)
Published on Aug 04, 2021 10:07 PM IST

How to rule the world, in 13 steps

The fastest time in the world since 1992 until last month is now the fifth fastest, destined to slip further down the pecking order by the time Warholm and Benjamin are done.

Norway's Karsten Warholm (R) crosses the finish line to win and break the world record ahead of second-placed USA's Rai Benjamin in the men's 400m hurdles final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games(AFP)
Norway's Karsten Warholm (R) crosses the finish line to win and break the world record ahead of second-placed USA's Rai Benjamin in the men's 400m hurdles final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games(AFP)
Published on Aug 03, 2021 09:56 PM IST

Tokyo 2020: Yes, you can have two golds

The only man putting his hands together to give Tamberi his beat was Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim, the double world champion high jumper, and the man the Italian was trying to defeat.

Joint gold medalists Mutaz Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi (R) of Italy pose for a photo following the men's high jump final at Tokyo Olympics(AP)
Joint gold medalists Mutaz Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi (R) of Italy pose for a photo following the men's high jump final at Tokyo Olympics(AP)
Updated on Aug 02, 2021 11:02 PM IST

Tokyo 2020: Thrown into a field of dreams

The importance of Kamalpreet to Indian sport cannot be overstated on a day when she will step into a circle 2.5m in diameter, with a 1kg disc in her hand, and look to hurl it beyond the margins of history.

Kamalpreet Kaur has a chance of making history on Monday. (Getty Images)
Kamalpreet Kaur has a chance of making history on Monday. (Getty Images)
Updated on Aug 02, 2021 08:34 AM IST

Tokyo 2020: It's time to lay a new foundation

The last time the Indian team reached the semi-final (other than 1980) was in 1972, on grass. And if they go on to win a medal of any colour, it will be worth several golds.

The Indian men's hockey team will face Great Britain with a place in the semi-final up for grabs. (Hockey India)
The Indian men's hockey team will face Great Britain with a place in the semi-final up for grabs. (Hockey India)
Updated on Aug 02, 2021 08:24 AM IST

Tokyo 2020: Long track of a sprinting island

Jamaica is the land of yams and jerk sauce, fast bowlers and wicketkeepers, reggae and the Rasta life. In the last two decades, it’s also come to be known as the land of the champion Olympic sprinters.

Former Jamaican sprinter Herb McKenley(Twitter)
Former Jamaican sprinter Herb McKenley(Twitter)
Updated on Aug 02, 2021 08:13 AM IST

Tokyo 2020: Respect the fight, not just the medal

Medals are only one way to measure the march of a sporting nation such as India, which still doesn’t have a system or culture that promotes excellence on the field of play. A better, more crucial yardstick is whether more of our athletes are being able to get in contention.

PV Sindhu, Pooja Rani and Deepika Kumari are India's strong medal contenders. (Getty Images)
PV Sindhu, Pooja Rani and Deepika Kumari are India's strong medal contenders. (Getty Images)
Updated on Aug 02, 2021 08:18 AM IST

Tokyo 2020: The Sun rises in the pool, again

Every Olympic success has a backstory and a cascading effect that exemplifies the power of sport to inspire. Each medal is steeped in history and plants a seed for the future.

Yui Ohashi of Team Japan celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Women's 400m Individual Medley Final. (Getty Images)
Yui Ohashi of Team Japan celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Women's 400m Individual Medley Final. (Getty Images)
Published on Jul 28, 2021 10:34 PM IST

Tokyo 2020: To be a legend, defeat a legend

On Monday, the American champion, 24, and the Australian challenger, 20, crossed paths in a race for the ages.

Australia’s Ariarne Titmus (L) and Katie Ledecky (R) of the US(Tokyo 2020 / Twitter)
Australia’s Ariarne Titmus (L) and Katie Ledecky (R) of the US(Tokyo 2020 / Twitter)
Published on Jul 28, 2021 07:03 AM IST

Tokyo 2020: The G.O.A.T. in dragon’s clothing

Ma Long had said before the Games that if he lost a single game, it would be letting his country down.

Ma Long of China in action against Sharath Kamal Achanta of India at Tokyo Olympics 2020(REUTERS)
Ma Long of China in action against Sharath Kamal Achanta of India at Tokyo Olympics 2020(REUTERS)
Updated on Jul 27, 2021 11:26 PM IST

Tokyo 2020: Make way for the outsiders

Anthony Nesty, now a coach in Florida, who set the ball rolling 33 years ago, should take a bow.

Anthony Nesty; File photo
Anthony Nesty; File photo
Updated on Jul 25, 2021 09:26 PM IST

Olympics: Welcome to the Redeem Team

If the Olympics are meant to be more about the struggle than the triumph, then the stories that stand out are not those of dominance, but those of redemption. Redemption of the kind that Mirabai Chanu experienced in Tokyo on an extraordinary Saturday morning for Indian sport.

India's Mirabai Chanu competes in the women's 49kg weightlifting competition at the Tokyo Olympics. (Getty Images)
India's Mirabai Chanu competes in the women's 49kg weightlifting competition at the Tokyo Olympics. (Getty Images)
Updated on Jul 25, 2021 03:09 AM IST

Why it’s not just about the money

On the eve of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, being held a year later than scheduled in the shadow of a virus and amid opposition from the Japanese public, there is some logic to this simple question: Why hold the Games in the middle of the Covid pandemic?

Fireworks explode during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, July 23, 2021. (Bloomberg)
Fireworks explode during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, July 23, 2021. (Bloomberg)
Updated on Jul 24, 2021 08:41 AM IST

Olympics: Why it’s not just about the money

On the eve of the Tokyo Olympics, being held a year later than scheduled in the shadow of a virus and amid opposition from the Japanese public, there is some logic to this simple question: Why hold the Games in the middle of a pandemic? The answers offered by most experts point to economics, and accurately so.

Kankuro Nakamura, a kabuki actor and the final torchbearer for the Tokyo Olympics, waves during the final torch relay event at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government complex in Tokyo Friday, July 23, 2021.(AP)
Kankuro Nakamura, a kabuki actor and the final torchbearer for the Tokyo Olympics, waves during the final torch relay event at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government complex in Tokyo Friday, July 23, 2021.(AP)
Published on Jul 23, 2021 09:37 PM IST

Starting Gun: In a dark time, the Great Symbol to the rescue

What is perhaps the greatest of the symbols was devised by a French aristocrat who had fulfilled his dream of recreating Ancient Olympia by managing to convince the world that sport, at the turn of the 20th century, would cement the bond between nations, some newly formed and newly evolved

Representational Image. (AFP)
Representational Image. (AFP)
Updated on Jul 23, 2021 08:22 AM IST

Higher, faster, stronger: A tribute to the Indian Olympian

As you cheer for India at the Tokyo Games, spare a thought for every athlete’s journey to the Olympics. They deserve our support not just once in four years but at every stage of the struggle

 (Shutterstock, Imaging: Hindustan Times)
(Shutterstock, Imaging: Hindustan Times)
Updated on Jul 17, 2021 04:26 PM IST

I am black and white. I’ll never be grey in my life: The Maradona legacy

It’s easy to box Maradona into what he did in 1986, his cult following at Napoli, the problems (drugs, obesity, the Mafia). But the truth is his legacy goes far beyond all that. He is the single largest factor responsible for the true globalisation of football — as a sport, as a passion, as a form of entertainment.

“Even if I played for a million years, I’d never come close to Maradona. Not that I’d want to anyway. He’s the greatest there’s ever been.” That was Messi on Maradona (above), who died on November 25, aged 60.(AP File)
“Even if I played for a million years, I’d never come close to Maradona. Not that I’d want to anyway. He’s the greatest there’s ever been.” That was Messi on Maradona (above), who died on November 25, aged 60.(AP File)
Updated on Nov 29, 2020 03:02 PM IST

‘We don’t believe in abandoning allies’, says BJP chief JP Nadda

The president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, JP Nadda says Nitish Kumar faced a problem when he went with Lalu, so even after winning the election (in 2015) he eventually left that alliance, and whenever he has been with the BJP, the pace of development picks up.

BJP chief JP Nadda says he is indebted to Bihar for the political exposure he got in his initial days.(PTI)
BJP chief JP Nadda says he is indebted to Bihar for the political exposure he got in his initial days.(PTI)
Updated on Oct 29, 2020 09:07 AM IST

Dhoni: The first hero of ‘real India’

A study in contrast, Dhoni symbolised the hopes, aspirations and abilities of small-town India

Charming, yet abrasive, passionate, yet disengaged, Dhoni gave India moments of joy and anguish.(AP photo)
Charming, yet abrasive, passionate, yet disengaged, Dhoni gave India moments of joy and anguish.(AP photo)
Updated on Aug 16, 2020 08:18 PM IST

Lessons from the field, lessons for life

For the first time, we, the ones on this side of the sport-watching fence, are envying those on the other side who don’t have to rely on events thousands of miles away—events they have absolutely no control over—for their sanity.

A roadshow in Malappuram heralding the start of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June 2014. Fandom doesn’t just unite; it also teaches us to accept when we’re beaten, be okay with not always winning, but have the resilience to keep fighting back.(HT Archive)
A roadshow in Malappuram heralding the start of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June 2014. Fandom doesn’t just unite; it also teaches us to accept when we’re beaten, be okay with not always winning, but have the resilience to keep fighting back.(HT Archive)
Updated on Jun 07, 2020 04:22 AM IST

Decade Ender: New feats same old superstars

DECADE OF UN-CHANGE: The Federer-Nadal-Djokovic trio-poly, the Bolt and Phelps monopolies, and the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly continued to thrive as an age of deep analysis gave us glorious certainties instead of fresh sporting narratives

Updated on Dec 27, 2019 11:42 AM IST

When human endeavour beat human imagination

Every emotion, quality and nuance of sport came alive on Sunday. Were there really only two winners?

What are tie­-breaker rules but stipulations never meant to be activated? Rather than a way to select the winner, they are, in reality, an admission of the inability to pick one.(Photos: AFP)
What are tie­-breaker rules but stipulations never meant to be activated? Rather than a way to select the winner, they are, in reality, an admission of the inability to pick one.(Photos: AFP)
Updated on Jul 15, 2019 08:59 PM IST

Cricket a gentleman’s game? Pshaw! — Flip Side by Kunal Pradhan

Cricket is not, and need not, be different from any other sport. There is no need for it to take itself so seriously that it has “laws” instead of “rules” and believes that it must be played with a superior “spirit”.

What spirit did it violate when R Ashwin ran out Jos Buttler in the IPL match on March 25?(AFP)
What spirit did it violate when R Ashwin ran out Jos Buttler in the IPL match on March 25?(AFP)
Published on Mar 30, 2019 06:06 PM IST

A camouflage cap has nothing to do with cricket Why play to a different gallery?

Even at the worst of times, sport has played the role of a healer despite the war metaphors that are freely attached to it

Virat Kohli leads his team out, all wearing camouflage caps, during the series between India and Australia in Ranchi.(Getty Images)
Virat Kohli leads his team out, all wearing camouflage caps, during the series between India and Australia in Ranchi.(Getty Images)
Updated on Mar 16, 2019 04:31 PM IST

Flip Side by Kunal Pradhan: Windies revival – An elusive dream

What does a West Indies renaissance really mean? The glory of West Indies cricket in the 1970s and 1980s was not just about victories and defeats. It was about race, culture, music, and the significance of lives lived on tiny islands figuring like dots on a world map

The West Indies cricket team with the World Cup trophy in 1979.(Popperfoto/Getty Images)
The West Indies cricket team with the World Cup trophy in 1979.(Popperfoto/Getty Images)
Published on Feb 16, 2019 06:19 PM IST

There has never been anything like Federer vs Nadal vs Djokovic: Flip Side by Kunal Pradhan

Tennis, in fact individual sport as a whole, was spoiling for a fight of this nature for nearly two decades

Left to right: Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have dominated world tennis for more than a decade.(GettyImages)
Left to right: Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have dominated world tennis for more than a decade.(GettyImages)
Updated on Feb 03, 2019 01:54 PM IST
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