Blazing a Trail

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Blazing a Trail

The year 2014 was a mixed bag for Indian sports with some great action at the Commonwealth Games

By Sadiq Shaban (sub Editor)

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Published: Sun 25 Jan 2015, 4:52 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 8:35 PM

Anisa Sayyed (left) and Rahi Sarnobat — AFP

Anisa Sayyed (left) and Rahi Sarnobat — AFP

Gold medalists Dipika Pallikal (left) and Joshana Chinappa —AFP

When the queen of England declared the 2014 Commonwealth games open in Glasgow, no one expected India to fare so well. Bagging an impressive haul of 64 medals, Indian athletes like the spunky Vikas Gowda, Joshana Chinappa and Parupalli Kashyap wowed spectators with their formidable talent and athletic prowess.

While Gowda won the much anticipated gold in the Men’s Discus throw event, thereby becoming the first gold medalist for India in men’s athletics in 56 years, Chinappa made history by winning the first gold for India in Squash. Badminton-sensation Kashyap Parupalli won a gold in Men’s Singles, becoming the first Indian male shuttler in 32 years to claim a gold in the singles event at the prestigious Commonwealth Games.

Rahi Sarnobat, the 24-year-old sensation from Pune, was crowned the champion of the 25-metre pistol shoot. In the deciding event, Sarnobat dominated the game from the start and took home the gold with an impressive score of 8-2. Australia’s Lalita Yauhleuskaya won the bronze medal after defeating Malaysia’s Azahari by 10-8. Sarnobat continued with her winning streak, picking up a bronze medal in the 25-metre pistol team event at the 2014 Asian Games at Incheon, where she teamed up with fellow Indians Anisa Sayyed and Heena Sidhu. She was the only Indian to qualify for the semi-final of the individual event.

Along with Dipika Pallikal, Chinappa ensured that India shined its way at the apex of squash competition. The pair won the squash women’s doubles gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, making it India’s first-ever medal in the sport. Pallikal, who has been a British Junior Open champion (2005) made her way up by beating second seeds Kasey Brown and Rachael Grinham to make it to the women’s doubles final. She battled to a 11-9, 7-11, 11-4 victory along and created another winning set by beating English top seeds Jenny Duncalf and Laura Massaro.

India dominated badminton as well. Parupalli Kashyap won many hearts when he came out tops at the Commonwealth Games with a gold medal in men’s singles. The Arjuna awardee became the first Indian male shuttler in 32 years to win a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games.

Rising to the occasion in the game, Kashyap held a breathtaking 21-14, 11-21, 21-19 triumph against Derek Wong of Singapore in the final showdown. The 28-year-old from Hyderabad is the third Indian, after badminton legend Prakash Padukone and Syed Modi, to win the title.

Apart from the strong buzz around Commonwealth Games, cricket kept India’s adrenaline running in 2014. It was a mixed bag for India though. New Zealand defeated India with 2-0 in tests and 4-0 in the One Day International (ODI) series in New Zealand. The Indian team visited England in June for a five-match Test series, five One Day International (ODI) matches and one Twenty20 International. England comfortably won the Test series 3–1, lifting the Pataudi Trophy. Giving reason to cheer for millions of cricket fans, India managed to win an ODI series against West Indies in October 2014. In the fourth ODI played at Dharamsala, the hosts made an unbeaten 330/6 score with Virat Kohli playing a super knockout of 127. The West Indian battling order collapsed on 271 with 11 balls to spare. 

The hugely popular Indian Premier League (IPL 7) took place in India and the UAE in 2014. The opening 20 matches were held in the UAE at three different stadiums in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, while India hosted the last part of the tournament. Kolkata Knight Riders won the 2014 season, beating Kings XI Punjab in a close contest. Chasing a score of 199 runs, the Kolkata Knight Riders achieved the feat with three balls to spare, thanks to a brilliant 94 by the right-handed Manish Pandey, who picked up the man of the match trophy.

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