India’s Top 10 Sporting Moments of 2015

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 !

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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 !

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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. 

Yuvraj Singh – A True Warrior

Yuvraj Singh is a sort of destiny’s child. A 14 year of cricketing career has a mix of lofty highs as well as seen the despairing depths.

But, there are very few sportspersons in India, and for that matter in the world, who are blessed with such unconditional love from the fans. Right from his under 19 days, he was marked out as a special talent. He did justice to this early reputation with a fantastic debut knock against the mighty Aussies. And, from that day onwards, Yuvi never looked back. And, the fans have never missed showering their affection on him.

yuv1 yuv2 yuv3

The scintillating performance in World Cup 2011, where he was adjudicated as the Man of the Tournament, was a pinnacle (362 runs and 15 wickets) of his sporting career. And every sportsperson would love to live in this phase for as long as possible. But, destiny had other plans. He had to stay away from the game – the thing he loved the most in his life, to beat a rare form of cancer. The cricket fraternity was in shock and fans could not hold back tears.yuv4

But, Yuvi had other plans. He fought the illness like a warrior. While most would’ve written off his cricketing career, he made a roaring comeback. When he came to bat in that T20 game against New Zealand in Chennai, the fans bowed to him and not one eye in the stadium was without tears. Yuvi, despite being a shade of what he was before the illness, entertained the fans with a 34 off 26 balls.

Everyone would have loved to see him regain the form quickly but the mentally & physically draining illness had taken a toll on him. The modern day cricket has become more strenuous. The form dipped and he was not considered for the squads in Champions Trophy and the World Cup.

After going through what he had, most people would have given up but Yuvi still was looking to make a comeback. Injuries to a few players prior to the World cup opened up a ray of hope for him; and more so for his fans. In hindsight, all experts opined that if Yuvi had played the Worldcup, India would have been stronger team than what it was. In the background, however, Yuvi kept working on his fitness and form. He had an outstanding Ranji season which was marked with 3 back to back hundreds.

And, Yuvi is still far from being done. With the kind of form and fitness he is in, it is only a matter of time before he is back in the national team. IPL 2015 presents a great opportunity to Yuvi to show the world (& the men who matters in India) that he still is a match winner.

To his fans, Yuvi is already a Champion and each one of them is eagerly waiting to cheer every stroke from him bat. For them, the color of the jersey he dones in IPL, is just a matter of minor details. The only jersey that they really want to see on Yuvi is the Team India Blue Jersey. And, those days are not so far.

All the best Yuvi. No matter what happens, you are and will always remain a true warrior and a champion in our heart.

 

P T Usha: The Golden Girl of Indian Athletics

Name: Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha

Nick Name: Payyoli Express

Date of Birth: June 27, 1964

City: Kozhikode, Kerala

Top Achievement: Usha lost the bronze medal by 1/100th of a second at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Trivia: Holds the record for most number of gold medals by a female athlete at a single track meet Continue reading “P T Usha: The Golden Girl of Indian Athletics”

Anju Bobby George: India’s jewel in long jump

  • Name: Anju Bobby George
  • Date of Birth: 19 April 1977
  • City: Kerala
  • Top Achievement: First Indian athlete ever to win a medal in a World Championships in Athletics
  • Trivia: She is married to Bobby George who is a former national champion in Triple jump.

Continue reading “Anju Bobby George: India’s jewel in long jump”

P V Sindhu: The future of World Badminton

Name: Pusarla Venkata Sindhu

Date of Birth: 5 July 1995

City: Hyderabad

Top Achievement: Sindhu became the first ever Indian woman to win a medal in singles at the World Championships in badminton.

 Trivia: Her father is an Arjuna award winning former volleyball player Continue reading “P V Sindhu: The future of World Badminton”