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Looking back at the year in sports

With the football World Cup, Asian Games, Olympics and Commonwealth Games, 2014 was packed with big-ticket sporting action. We bring you the brightest stars...

brunch Updated: Dec 27, 2014 20:47 IST
Aasheesh Sharma
Aasheesh Sharma
Hindustan Times
World Cup,Asian Games,Olympics

With the football World Cup, Asian Games, Olympics and Commonwealth Games, 2014 was packed with big-ticket sporting action. We bring you the brightest stars...

Rohit’s double blast

173 balls, 264 runs, 33 fours, 9 sixes

Borivali Bomber Rohit Sharma’s explosive knock helped him create a world record for the highest One Day International score against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens.

Interestingly, all four double tons in ODIs have been made by Indian batsmen.

The two tonners

Sachin Tendulkar

: 200 not out against South Africa at Gwalior, 2010

Virender Sehwag:

219 against West Indies at Indore, 2011

Rohit Sharma:

209 against Australia at Bangalore, 2013

Kabaddi, kabaddi, Kabaddi....

The Indian kabaddi team has for long been considered the most successful in the world. But 2014 brought these home-grown heroes into our drawing rooms. Over the five weeks that it was held, the Pro Kabaddi League was viewed by 435 million viewers in India. This made it the second-most viewed tournament in the country after the IPL, which was viewed by 552 million cricket fans this year. On August 31, one out of every four television viewers in the country was watching the Pro Kabaddi final-day coverage.

How Incheon was won

When the men’s kabaddi team beat Iran in the final, India’s Asian Games contingent in Incheon, South Korea, completed a medal haul of 57 medals. But more than the numbers, the manner in which a few of India’s women athletes made headlines during the games – for reasons good and bad – was interesting.

* MC Mary Kom

punched her way to strike gold at the age of 31. The mother of three also inspired a Bollywood biopic featuring Priyanka Chopra in the lead. She was the subject of a


cover story in our September 19 issue.
* Middle distance runner

Tintu Luka

, the daughter of a mason from Kerala, left her poor childhood behind when she found a mentor in Olympic legend PT Usha and silenced her critics by winning the 800 metres silver.
* With the world watching, boxer

Laishram Sarita Devi

refused to receive her bronze at the medals ceremony to protest against ‘biased umpiring.’ The boxing administrators punched back, by handing her a one-year ban.

The desi kick

More than a million fans visited stadia across the country to watch the inaugural Hero Indian Super League. In the final on December 20, Atletico de Kolkata beat Kerala Blasters, thanks to a goal by Mohammad Rafique in the dying minutes.

Brazil memories

Even if you disregard Luis Suarez’s vampire-like exploits, there were quite a few other eye-popping moments in the World Cup Football tournament held in Brazil this year. Read on:


James Rodriguez’s

masterpiece of a strike against Uruguay at the Maracana that stunned the opposition and created a stir at the World Cup.


Robin van Persie’s

spectacular diving header that drew comparisons with Superman, against Spain


Brazil’s 1-7

mauling in the semi-final against Germany



unforeseen injury. The brilliant Brazilian fractured a vertebra in the host’s victory over Colombia and the Beautiful Game lost some of its lustre at its highest stage.

Not quite Cricket

On November 25, during a domestic match between New South Wales and South Australia, a bouncer by Sean Abbott hit Phillip Hughes on the back of his head. Tragically, Hughes never regained consciousness.

Bouncers have bloodied the 22-yard pitch a number of times:

* In 1962, Indian captain

Nari Contractor

was hit by a menacing Charlie Griffith delivery. He lost consciousness for six days and underwent a number of surgeries to save his life. But his career was cut short and he never played another Test match.

* In 1975,

Kiwi Ewen Chatfield

nearly lost his life after a snorter from English bowler Peter Laver hit him. Chatfield swallowed his tongue and could survive only after an English physio resuscitated him.

* English pace bowler Bob Willis stuck Australia’s

Rick Darling

during the Adelaide Test in 1978. Darling’s chewing gum became lodged in his throat and he nearly choked to death.


Phil Simmons

was struck in the head by a David Lawrence delivery and underwent brain surgery in 1988. He recovered and resumed his international career next year.

* Former Indian opener

Raman Lamba

lost his life when he was hit on the head while fielding at forward short leg during a club match in Bangladesh in 1998.

Ace ventura

Two tennis icons catalysed the entry of big-ticket tennis leagues into India in 2014. The

Champions Tennis League

promoted by

Vijay Amritraj

featured five-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis, current World No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska and former Wimbledon champ Pat Cash among others.

And the

International Premier Tennis League

backed by

Mahesh Bhupathi

boasted tennis legend Roger Federer amongst 20 other Grand Slam champions.* Shuttle from India:

The All England Open Badminton Championships in March are where Olympic medallist

Saina Nehwal

might want to emulate her former coach Pullela Gopichand. If the performances of Commonwealth gold winner P Kashyap, China Open champions Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu are any indication, 2015 might see fans smiling year to year.

* The Defenders:

After tasting defeat at Adelaide and Brisbane in the Test series, defending champions India may find it tough doing an encore at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, being co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia in February and March. Can Shikhar, Virat and Umesh do a Sachin, Gambhir and Praveen?

* Save the date:

India versus Pakistan at Adelaide on February 15.

* Watch out for:

Hockey wizard and three-time Olympic champion

Dhyan Chand

finally getting his due with a Khel Ratna.

From HT Brunch, December 28
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First Published: Dec 26, 2014 17:54 IST