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The headlines that shook the sporting arena in 2014

From Maria Sharapova not knowing who Sachin Tendulkar is, to boxer Sarita Devi refusing her medal at the Asian Games, 2014 has witnessed a number of sports controveries; here are the top 10 sporting events that created the wrong headlines.

other Updated: Dec 27, 2014 16:49 IST
Hindustan Times

From Maria Sharapova not knowing who Sachin Tendulkar is, to boxer Sarita Devi refusing her medal at the Asian Games, 2014 has witnessed a number of sports controveries; here are the top 10 sporting events that created the wrong headlines.

1. Sachin who? Asks Maria Sharapova

This was hands down the 'biggest' sports controversy of the year. Indian cricket fans took to Twitter and Facebook to express their outrage after Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova committed the 'cardinal sin' by saying she does not know who Sachin 'the God' Tendulkar is.

Sharapova admitted during a post match press conference at the Wimbledon that she did not know who Tendulkar but said she had met footballer David Beckham a few times.

Tendulkar was in the Royal Box during the Championship alongside former England cricket captain Andrew Strauss.

2. Luis Suarez the biter

During a World Cup group stage match between Uruguay and Italy, Luiz Suarez was handed a four-month ban for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.

Suarez initially escaped punishment as the match referee did not see the incident but television replays showed him trying to sink his teeth into Chiellini's shoulder in an off-the-ball incident.

It was the third time Suarez was sanctioned for biting an opponent.

3. Terry Walsh's resignation

India's hockey coach Terry Walsh quit from his position after his contractual talks with Hockey India and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) broke down.

Walsh submitted his resignation after his demands for a greater say in team decisions and demand for hand-picked support staff were turned down by HI and SAI.

Under Walsh, Indian men won the Asian Games gold medal after 16 years and qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Before this, the team bagged a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games and most recently defeated world champions Australia in an away test series.

4. Sarita Devi medal refusal

Competing in the lightweight category boxing at the Asian Games, Sarita Devi was handed a 0–3 defeat verdict by judges in her semifinal match against South Korea's Park Ji-Na. It turned out to be hugely controversial considering that Devi had knocked Park out in the third round and also a convincing fourth round, before having rained heavy blows on the South Korean throughout the first two rounds.

Following this, the Indian team lodged a protest against the decision, which was rejected by the AIBA's technical committee. At the
awards ceremony, Devi refused to accept her bronze medal and handed it over to the silver medallist, Park.

This was followed by provisional suspension of Devi and her coaches by the AIBA, barring from participating in the AIBA's events until further notice.

5. Indian officials' misbehaviour at CWG

Rajeev Mehta, secretary general of the Indian Olympic Association and a senior member of the Indian contingent at the Commonwealth Games, and wrestling referee Virender Singh Malik, were arrested in Glasgow.

While Mehta was arrested for allegedly driving above the legal alcohol limit, Malik was held for reportedly being involved in sexual
assault at a hotel.

Besides the offence of drink-driving, Mehta was reported to be involved in a hit-and-run case too, in which two people were injured, and later obstructing the work of the police by not stopping and speeding away from the scene.

6. Unsporting Tim Krul

Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal withdrew Jasper Cillessen for the 1.93m (six feet three inches) Tim Krul exactly a minute before the penalties in their quarter-final match against Costa Rica at the World Cup.

And his judgement looked impeccable when Krul saved Costa Rica's second kick, struck by Ruiz, and then palmed away Umana's low and one-handed before racing away in triumph.

But a huge controversy erupted when Costa Rican strikers complained that Krul had taunted and intimidated them before every kick by shouting 'Vamos' in the face of every penalty taker.

7. Missing Olympic ring

After a technical glitch during the lavish opening ceremony for the Sochi Winter Olympics the last of the five rings making up the Olympic symbol failed to open.

During the ceremony at the Fisht Stadium, large, fake snowflakes hovered over the ground. These flakes were supposed to expand into large circle, then join together to form the five Olympic rings.

But as the flakes slowly transitioned, one refused to budge. The other circles joined together, while one snowflake stubbornly stayed in place and the final product was four Olympic rings and an asterix mark.

8. Dipika Pallikal's lack of knowledge

India's highest ranked women squash player Dipika Pallikal did not play at the World Team Championships in Canada because she was unaware about the event.

India finished 14th in the 20-team competition. Dipika's presence could have definitely ensured a better place for India.

Earlier in the year, Dipika and Joshna Chinappa had teamed up at the CWG to win India's first squash gold at Glasgow.

9. Ban on Saeed Ajmal

The International Cricket Council (ICC) banned Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal from bowling in international cricket after bio-
mechanic analysis showed all his deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees of elbow flex allowed.

Ajmal, who was reported after the first Test in Sri Lanka last month and underwent tests, applied to the ICC for a re-assessment after he modified his bowling action.

Ajmal will be crucial to Pakistan's hopes at next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

10. Saina Nehwal's coach decision

It came as a huge shock when Saina Nehwal announced that she would no longer be training under P Gopichand. Nehwal shifted to
Bengaluru to train under former India coach Vimal Kumar right before the Asian Games.

Saina's father later clarified that the decision was temporary and purely aimed at infusing freshness in her game.

First Published: Dec 24, 2014 12:13 IST