The year 2015 was an awesome year for sports in India. And with a year like that, a customary top 10 moment list should be in order ! So, here I go with my list of Top 10 moments.
1) A rare away test series win for the Indian cricket team
Indian Cricket team defeated Sri Lanka 2-1 in Aug-Sep 2015 and registered a rare away test series win. This was India’s first series win against Sri Lanka after a staggering gap of 22 years ! The series also marked a successful change of guard as Virat Kohli took over the leadership mantle from MS Dhoni. The team further went onto to inflict a humiliating series defeat on South Africa at home. Clearly, a pivotal moment in the history of Indian cricket and one that would have a prominent reference in cricket history books.
2) Indian Shuttler at the top of the world
Saina Nehwal reached the pinnacle of the ranking in 2015. For a brief period, she was the top women shuttler in the world; something that hasn’t happened ever. It was unfortunate that Saina missed out on a few finals against her arch rival and current # 1 Carolina Marin. Nonetheless, a great year for Saina and badminton in India.
3) Top Ranking for Sania Mirza
Another women athlete at the top ranking. The similarity in the name is eerie in its coincidence !
The doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis, also fondly known as Santina, won almost everything in the doubles calendar of 2015. It was a scintillating year for Sania and reminiscent of the good old Mahesh Bhupathi-Leander Paes days, when India had a list of tennis achievements worth talking about and be proud of.
4) Pro Kabaddi League II – A bigger success
PKL 1 started out with great doubts around acceptability. But, it exceeded
all the expectations. So, the true test of the league was to see if it can sustain the same momentum in the second edition. And sustain, it did.
PKL 2 out did PKL 1 with a staggering 45% increase in TV viewership. The likes of Anup Kumar, Rahul Chaudhari, Dipak Hooda and many more are now household names in India. The most exciting part is the fact that women and children contributed to nearly 50% of the viewership, a sign of how Indian households has taken a liking for this fantastic Indian sport.
5) Olympics qualification for Indian Women’s Hockey Team
Indian Women’s Hockey team qualified for the Rio Olympics after a long gap of 33 years. And, this will only be second time for the women’s team in Olympics. A little unbelievable for a nation which practically ruled the sports for a good part of the previous century.
We now hope that the ‘Chak De’ script actually turns into reality for the Indian girls. If so, it will surely be part of my list of top 10 sporting moments in 2016 !!
6) The Badminton League returns
Technically, this one is not a 2015 event. But the Badminton league was confirmed in 2015 and that itself was a great moment for the sport in India.
The first edition of Indian Badminton League was a huge hit. It was one of its kind event in the Badminton world and had stars from all countries participate. It was surprising that the league was discontinued after such an amazing start.
Thankfully, good sense prevailed and the league is back under the new name of Premier Badminton League (PBL).
7) India’s 173 medals @ Special Olympics
We generally do not relate a double digit medal tally at multi-sports event like Olympics with India ! But, India gathered a whopping 173 medals at the Special Olympics – games meant for people with intellectual disabilities.
Given the state of affairs of sports in India and concern (or lack of it) for people with special abilities, this achievement is nothing short of spectacular and hence a part of my list. ‘A true triumph of determination, hard work and sportsman spirt’ as quoted by our PM Narendra Modi.
8) Spring Cleaning of IPL
The year 2015 year was a tumultuous for the coveted Indian Premier League. Sadly, the issues were not around cricket but what happens outside it & within the closed doors.
Thankfully, the cleanup process began with apt intervention from Indian judiciary. While the ouster of CSK and RR may not be in the best commercial interest of the league, it was the right thing to do to win back the trust of cricket fans all over the world. IPL in 2016 promises to be cleaner than ever !
9) The launch of Pro Wrestling League
It was heartening to see the launch of Pro Wrestling League and true to its tag line it had a ‘fauladi’ start. With many reputed Indian and Foreign wrestlers, big sponsors and good viewership, the league was very successful and is surely here to stay. A great platform to promote wrestling in India, a sports which goes very far back in the Indian history.
10) India gets to see Federer v/s Nadal in action, finally !!
Usually India doesn’t get much of the international tennis action, but things have changed drastically after the launch of IPTL – International Premier Tennis League. It is a dream come true for the Indian tennis fans to see almost all of the top tennis star come down and play in Delhi.
And the excitement reached its peak during that awesome duel between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It was just one set, but the intensity was the same and has made Indians hungry for more action !
Overall, we can safely say that 2015 was a great sporting year for India. Sports is at the center of everything we do at Sports365. Our vision is to play a meaningful role (if possible, a lead role) in ushering the Sporting revolution in India and years like these makes us believe that we are headed in the right direction and at the right pace.
May the year 2016 bring in the best of fitness, health and happiness in your life !
PS: The above mentioned list is compiled purely based on my personal preferences. I am sure there are many more great moments which are not part of my list . I would love to know about the one’s I missed; please be kind enough to mention those in your comments.