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Rewind 2017: Top 10 sporting controversies and disappointments

The year 2017 had several such moments where disappointments and controversies shared equal space with the glorious achievements.

Year Ender 2017 Updated: Dec 31, 2017 10:34 IST
Abhishek Paul
Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon after Italy was defeated in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying encounter.
Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon after Italy was defeated in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying encounter.(REUTERS)

Sport has the power to be liberating as well as tormenting. The margin of error sometimes becomes so less that winners and losers are separated by fraction of a second or by a mere point. It also sometimes transgress the field of play to create a storm in the political world.

The year 2017 had several such moments where disappointments and controversies shared equal space with the glorious achievements.

READ | Sports Rewind 2017: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Here we look at 10 sporting moments which was not all hale and hearty:

Usain Bolt fails to finish final race

Usain Bolt, fastest man in the world, entered the World Championships in London with a bid to hang his boots on a high. Instead, there were disappointments in store for him. The eight-time Olympics gold medallist had to be satisfied with a bronze in the 100m run, with the gold going to Justin Gatlin. In his final race, the 4x100m relay, Bolt suffered a muscle cramp and could not finish the dash.

Usain Bolt lies on the track after he injured himself in the 4x100 meter relay final at the World Athletics Championships in London. (AP)

Gianluigi Buffon’s Italy fail to qualify for 2018 FIFA World Cup

For Italian legend Buffon, the 2018 World Cup was probably going to be his final international event. Instead, his team could not qualify for the main event for the first time since 1958. Italy lost to Sweden in the play-off as a teary-eyed Buffon announced his international retirement. However, he later said that he will always be available to play for Italy.

India’s loss to Pakistan in ICC Champions Trophy final

Virat Kohli-led India cruised their way into the title clash after winning three out of four matches, with one of those coming against Pakistan. But it was the latter who had the last laugh in the final. Pakistan, living up to their unpredictable tag, notched 338/4 with Fakhar Zaman scoring 114. India were dismissed for a paltry 158.

Sarfraz Ahmed of Pakistan lifts the trophy as Pakistan win the ICC Champions trophy. (Getty Images)

Anil Kumble-Virat Kohli rift

After India’s Champions Trophy final loss, the sport witnessed a dark chapter with stories of rift between captain Virat Kohli and then coach Anil Kumble. The latter went on record to say that his relationship with the former was ‘untenable’ and resigned from his post. Ravi Shastri was named successor to Kumble’s post as India went on to reach new heights. However, the episode left bad taste in mouth.

India’s loss to England ICC Women’s World Cup

Mithali Raj’s team, only the second Indian side to enter ICC Women’s World Cup final, were cruising towards a historic win in the title clash until Anya Shrubsole decided to change course of the match. Bowling first, India restricted England to 228/7 in 50 overs. While chasing, India cruised to 191/3 within 43 overs. But then Shrubsole (6/46) caused mayhem and India were all out for 219.

Harmanpreet Kaur, left, after scoring 171runs not out during the ICC Women's World Cup. (AP)

Donald Trump abuses NFL players

US president Donald Trump cooked up a storm as he described NFL players, who took a knee when US national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played, as “sons of bitches”. He added that such players should be fired. Trump’s comments were met with fiery criticism by the players as well as team owners.

Illie Nastase’s racist comments

Illie Nastase, Romanian tennis great, was provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Federation and Wimbledon organisers The All England Club for racist comments on Serena Williams’ unborn baby. “Let’s see what colour it has. Chocolate with milk?” is what he said. He also made some sexist remarks on Anne Keothavong and Jo Konta.

PV Sindhu loses in World Championship final

PV Sindhu’s rise has been one of the greatest stories in Indian sports in the last couple of years. So, it was natural that expectations were high from the Rio Olympics silver medallist in 2017. She reached the World Championships final facing Japanese Nozomi Okuhara. The Indian lost the match 21-19, 20-22, 22-20. It was not only final that she lost in 2017. She also went down in the title clashes of Hong Kong Open and Dubai Superseries finals.

PV Sindhu returns a shot against Beimen Zhang during the Premier Badminton League (PBL). (AP)

Chris Froome in Doping net

Doping returned to haunt cycling when four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome came under doping net. He had twice the permissible amount of asthma medication in his system during the Vuelta race in September. Also, Russia was banned from Winter Olympics due to doping.

Justin Gatlin in doping controversy

American sprinter Gatlin got involved in fresh doping controversy when his coach Dennis Mitchell, according to a report, was said to have offered to provide false prescriptions to athletes for banned substances and smuggle those drugs into the United States. The World Championship 100m gold, who has twice been suspended for doping, sacked his coach after the allegations.