2016 has been a memorable year in the world of sports. Without further ado, here are 12 things that stood out in this year.
What a year it has been for them! They were crowned the champions of India for the second time in their history. They then went on to reach places where Indian football had never been able to, as they became the first Indian team to reach the finals in Asia’s second biggest club tournament- AFC cup.
(Bengaluru FC: The Doha Dream)
The golden girl of Indian Olympics in Rio. Although she couldn’t return with a medal, she came close, finishing 4th in the finals of the vault competition. She will famously be remembered for her outrageously dangerous ‘Produnova’ vault. But she promises to thrill. She’s young (23 years old) and she’s hungry for more. Watch out for her.
(More about Dipa Karmakar on the blog.)
She’s being touted to achieve many big things. At a young age of 21, she has already climbed to the 6th rank in the world, according the BWF Women’s World Ranking.
She became the first Indian woman to win a Silver in the Olympics and she also won the China Open and the Malaysian Masters tournaments. Badminton overall is improving in the country.
While we are talking about young Indian women making us proud, Aditi Ashok, a Bengaluru girl is not too far off. Her story has been one of those overnight success stories, which involves years of hard work and commitment. She represented India in Golf at the Olympics at the age of only 18. She has qualified to the LPGA Tour for 2017 and will be up against some of the best golfers of the world. She won the LET Rookie of the year award. She has been vocal about her ambitions and goals that she is working hard for.
Indian hockey has come leaps and bounds from it’s dark days of in-fighting among the administration and mis-management of coaches and players. We have finally found stability in management and consistency in performances. We finished a respectable 8th in the olympics, We won the Asian Champions Trophy and finished Second only behind Australia in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the Champions Trophy. We have consistently played well against the traditionally better teams like Australia, Netherlands and Germany. And just to be sure that the future is promising, our junior team went on to win the Junior World Cup after 15 years. Indian hockey is back for good.
We Indians love cricket, no doubt about it. With this love for the game, naturally our best players will be looked at like god-like figures. Any superlative I use to describe Virat Kohli’s year will not have already been used. He makes batting look so effortlessly easy and his captaincy is aggressive, reminiscent of the golden-Australian-years in cricket. He is taking this young Indian team to new heights. If the media is anything to go by, World Domination is within reach.
WBO Asia Pacific Super-Middleweight Champion, with a record of 8-0. He is a great boxer, no doubt about it. The thing with professional boxing is that you can keep playing easy matches and have an unbeaten record. So, it’s been easy for him so far. But, It’s only going to get tougher. He is sure that ultimately his eyes are on the World Championship. He has put his head down and worked hard to do what he has done. So kudos to the Asia-Pacific champion.
The Vijay Mallya owned Formula 1 Team had it’s best year in it’s Formula 1 history. 2 Podiums for Sergio Perez and multiple good showings earned the team a 4th place finish in the constructor’s championship. They were only beaten by Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. No shame to finish behind them for sure. However the caviar is the fact that they finished above teams like Williams, McLaren-Honda (with Alonso and Button) and Renault.
Surprise, Surprise. An underdog team that took the Premier League by storm. Who doesn’t like an underdog story? The media lives for these stories. David beats Goliath is the most inspiring story and will continue to be so. However, take nothing away from them. They gave blood, sweat and tears to be champions of England. The year 2016 will forever be in their folklore.
Cristiano Ronaldo & Portugal.
Hard to imagine Cristiano Ronaldo and underdog in the same sentence, but this is exactly that-A story of an Underdog. Ronaldo led his country to European glory in Euro 2016 in France. He doubled up as the coach when he couldn’t play due to injury. Just when you think his fame couldn’t possibly elevate, it does.
LeBron James’ comeback
Game 5. The scores are at 1-3 against you in the NBA Finals. Stephen Curry, your arch-nemesis (albeit, made by the media) is going to get one over you if he wins this with his team. What do you do? You outscore him and anyone on his team, in points, rebounds, steals, assists and blocks. Then, you go ahead and win the championship 4-3. Easy.
The guy who was born in the wrong generation. The guy who would have won so many more grand slams had it not been for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. If sports teaches you anything, it’s that perseverance pays off. In Andy Murray’s case, it’s as true as it gets. He now has 3 grand slams to his name and is ranked number 1 in the World in men’s tennis. He reached the finals of the major tournaments except the US Open. He won the prestigious Wimbledon Championships, A Gold for Great Britain at the Olympics and the ATP World Tour Finals at London.
Have I missed your favourite moment from 2016? Leave it in the comments below. Spread the cheer.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!