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They came, they saw, they conquered: Top 10 sportspersons of 2014

With a plethora of major sporting events taking place in 2014, a lot of new heroes emerged onto the scene, while many forgotten ones came out of oblivion and stamped their mark. Here are 10 athletes who were in the news this year.

othersports Updated: Dec 27, 2014 16:55 IST
Hindustan Times

With a plethora of major sporting events taking place in 2014, a lot of new heroes emerged onto the scene, while many forgotten ones came out of oblivion and stamped their mark.

Here are 10 athletes who were in the news this year.

1. Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma redefined one-day batting with a 173-ball 264 to better Virender Sehwag's highest individual score of 219 and displayed that when it comes to effortlessly ripping into the opposition, he is best-suited for the job.

Coming off an injury, Rohit couldn't have found better facilitators than Sri Lanka as he took them apart with precision and the elegance
befitting royalty. He is now the only player to have scored centuries in Tests, ODIs and T20 at Eden Gardens, celebrating its 150th year.

2. Kidambi Srikanth

Twenty one-year-old K Srikanth has been the most consistent shuttler in 2014.

He finished as the runner-up at the 2014 India Open Grand Prix Gold event in Lucknow and was a quarter-finalist at the 2014 Malaysian Open. He was part of the Indian badminton contingent that reached the semi-finals of the mixed-team event at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. He also reached the quarter-finals of the men's singles event in the same tournament.

But his biggest achievement of the year was the victory at the China Open super series. He pulled off a surprising 21-19, 21-17 win in the final match over two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan. He became only the third player to beat the Chinese great since the 2012 Olympics.

He is also the first Indian to win a Super Series men's title.

3. Sebastian Vettel

"Looking back to the years when I was 11 or 12, trying to look over the fence and trying to see a glimpse of Michael (Schumacher)
running on the track, well today I was the one running," said four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel after his first
weekend at Maranello as a Ferrari driver.

Vettel signing a three-year deal with Ferrari was undoubtedly the 'move' of the year in the world of motor racing. Fernando Alonso
switched from Ferrari to Mclaren as it was clear that Vettel and Raikonen would be Ferrari's first choice.

4. Rory McIlroy

Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy captured his third major title after winning the British Open by two shots at Royal Liverpool. McIlroy held off the challenge from Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler to win the title.

At 25, McIlroy joined legends Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to have achieved that feat by that age. He also became the second most successful British golfer of the modern era behind the six major titles won by Nick Faldo.

5. Juan Zuniga

Juan Camilo Zuniga can be sure of not winning any popularity contest in Brazil — not now, not ever.

The Colombian ploughed into Brazil's star player Neymar's back in the 88th minute and laid him low at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza during the World Cup quarter-final. Neymar writhed in agony on the ground and had to be stretchered off.

Neymar's absence hurt Brazil in the semi-final as they went down 7-2 at the hands of Germany.

6. Sean Abbott

Sean Abbott, delivered the ball that struck the fatal blow to Phillip Hughes' head, and there were fears that the 22-year-old may have been too traumatised to play again. But he decided to take a different route and took part in a Sheffield Shield clash.

Abbott strong mental resolve was at display as he bowled a stunning 6-14 as New South Wales demolished Queensland at the Sydney
Cricket Ground, the same ground where Hughes was hit.

7. Susie Wolff

Susie Wolff poses for a photo at the Monte Blanco Circuit in Spain. (AP Photo)

Racing driver Susie Wolff became the first woman in 22 years to drive a Formula One racing car in an official competitive session when she took the wheels of a Williams in the opening practice for British Grand Prix.

She has been appointed as the official test pilot for Williams and is making steep inroads into a male-dominated sport.

8. Sreejesh

Indian men's hockey team beat Pakistan in the Asian Games final to reclaim the gold after 16 years. Indian keeper Sreejesh held his nerves as India won 4-2 in the penalty shootout.

He saved 2 penalties which proved enough to take India past the victory line. This win also earned India a berth at the 2016 Rio

Sreejesh dedicated the triumph to the Indian Army.

9. Dipa Karmakar

India produced a rich haul of medals at the 2014 CWG, but the one that probably shone the brightest was bagged by the 21-year-old gymnast from Tripura.

Dipa Karmakar won a bronze in the women's vault final with a overall score of 14.366. This win made her the first Indian woman to win a Commonwealth gymnastics medal and the second Indian after Ashish Kumar.

Karmakar could not better her feat at the Incheon Asian Games due to an ankle injury.

10. Yuvraj Singh

The dashing southpaw, who had played stellar roles when India won the ODI World Cup in 2011 and the T20 World Cup in 2007, came
under a line of fire after he scored 11 runs off 21 deliveries in the T20 final against Sri Lanka.

Yuvraj looked a pale shadow of himself and was unable to rotate the strike too, which robbed India of momentum towards the end of their innings.

He was in the news again when Royal Challengers Bangalore bought him for a record price of Rs. 14 crore at the IPL auction. He failed to live up to the price tag scoring only 376 runs in 14 matches.

First Published: Dec 24, 2014 16:33 IST