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2014: A win-win year for sports fans

The Football WC in Brazil was undoubtedly the biggest sporting event. But the year also saw the Asian Games, CWG, T20 WC and many others. Here are nine events which ensured that sports aficionados had something to talk about throughout the year.

other Updated: Dec 30, 2014 10:31 IST
Hindustan Times

The Football World Cup held in Brazil was undoubtedly the biggest sporting event of 2014. But the year also saw the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, T20 World Cup and many others.

Here are 9 events which ensured that sports aficionados had something to talk about throughout the year.

1. Brazil World Cup

When the most viewed sport puts up a spectacle of this magnitude, the world sits up and marvels.

The event witnessed a lot of drama – Luis Suarez's bite, Neymar's injury, Tim Krul intimidation of his opponent before every penalty.
But it will be remembered most for the high quality of football that was at display.

Minnows like Colombia and Ghana raised their game by several notches, while defending champions Spain fell in the league stages itself.

After stellar performances in the previous 2 World Cups, Germany finally went on to lift the cup beating Argentina 1-0 in the finals.

2. Phillip Hughes

The world of cricket went into a shock when Phillip Hughes died in a hospital two days after being hit by a Sean Abbott bouncer during a domestic first-class match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The event transpired only a few days before the first India-Australia Test where Hughes was being touted to take 'injured' Michael Clarke's place.

Cricket Australia left no stone unturned in paying him a fitting tribute. His funeral was held in his hometown Macksville which was
attended by over 8,000 people.

3. Asian Games

The Asian Games which were held at South Korea's Incheon in September saw India return with 11 gold medals, three fewer than what
they collected in China four years ago, 10 silver and 36 bronze for a total haul of 57 medals.

The medal count went down from the last Games but Indian sports still had lots to celebrate with the men's hockey team coming good
after a long time to strike gold even as the legend of MC Mary Kom got bigger in a mixed Asian Games campaign for Indian athletes.

Pistol shooter Jitu Rai and freestyle grappler Yogeshwar Dutt were among the other heroes of the Games.

4. World Chess Championship

The World Chess Championship, which was held in Sochi, saw Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen battle it out for the second time in a row – with the same result this time around as well.

In the eleventh game, Anand playing with black pieces lost to Carlsen. With this win Carlsen successfully defended his World Champion title 6.5-4.5.

5. Pro-Kabaddi league

Indian sports fans witnessed a lot of 'leagues' in 2014. While there was the quintesential cricket IPL, ISL and Pro-Kabaddi league made their debut this year.

What made this league stand out was that it brought back viewership to a sport which has it's roots imbibed in India's rich cultural history.

India this year also won it's 6th consecutive World Championship, but the players received recognition and accolades only due to the league.

6. IPTL in India

India finally had a date with the legends of tennis when the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic gave enough glittering glimpses of their brilliance during the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) in New Delhi.

The atmosphere was loud even though the venue was far from full, something which was seen on all three days.

The mother of all clashes was the one between world number one Djokovic and Federer for which the responsive crowd had to wait right till the end.

7. Sochi winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics took place in the coastal city of Sochi in Western Russia. These were the first Olympics in Russia since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Soviet Union was the host nation for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

The start of the event was marred by cost overrruns and Anti-LGBT sentiment of the Russian Government. The event itself though went fairly smoothly and was hailed by participants as a success.

India's athletes originally competed as Independent Olympic Participants and marched under the Olympic flag during the opening ceremony, as the Indian Olympic Association(IOA) had been suspended in December 2012. Though mid way through the event the IOA was reinstated and the atheletes were allowed to compete under the Indian flag, but they were not able to pick a single medal during the competition.

Hosts Russia cam first in the medal tally winning 33 medals.

8. T20 World Cup

Sri Lanka's inseparable duo Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene celebrated their retirement from T20 Internationals with their first world title, ending their country's 18-year wait.

Sri Lanka beat India by 6 wickets in the final to end a successful 21 day tournament held in Bangladesh.

9. Wimbledon

Roger Federer put all his critics to rest when he set up a showdown with Novak Djokovic in a bid to win a record eighth Wimbledon men's singles title.

In 8 finals at Wimbledon, Roger Federer had lost only once in 2008 in arguably the greatest Tennis match ever played. Even so he came into the finals as the underdog against the the top seed Djockovic. Both men treated viewers to a Tennis clinic in a rivetting five setter.

Djokovic came out on top in a thrilling five-setter as he beat Federer 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) 5-7, 6-4 at Flushing Meadows.

The 32-year-old Federer would have become the oldest man to win Wimbledon in the Open Era if he had seen off the world number two, but instead his wait for a first Grand Slam title since his last Wimbledon triumph in 2012 goes on.

First Published: Dec 27, 2014 17:06 IST