Top 10 Indian Sports Stories of 2014

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The year 2014 saw the conclusions of some of the biggest sporting events in the world across different sports and brought a lot of joy to sports fans as well as the supporters of the particular sportspersons involved. This article looks at 10 of the biggest sports news in India in 2014 that had captured the imagination of everyone the nation.

10. Pro Kabaddi Final

For many years one of India’s oldest indigenous games Kabaddi was going through a slow and painful death as no one really cared much about the sport, however the brilliantly executed Pro Kabaddi League has changed the landscape for the game forever and the final of the tournament was certainly one of the talking points of the year. In the final held in Mumbai in August, the  Jaipur team named Jaipur Panthers owned by Abhishek Bachhan beat U Mumba, the Mumbai based team owned by Ronnie Screwvala comprehensively. The event got unprecedented attention and was certainly one of the biggest events in Indian sports in 2014.

Pro Kabaddi Final

9. ISL Final

Much like the case with Kabaddi, Indian football was also in a state of stagnation for many decades but the launch of the Indian Super League brought in quality football to these shores and the final between Atletico de Kolkata and Kerala Blasters in Mumbai will surely go down as one of the biggest sports events of 2014. In a topsy turvy final the favourites Kolkata absorbed the pressure for the duration of the game from the marauding Blasters attacking unit but when it came to the crunch Kolkata landed the sucker punch as they scored an injury time winner through a bullet Mohammad Rafique header. The scenes that followed would surely be among the images of the year.

ISL Final

8. Anand v Carlsen Chess Bouts

The World Chess Championship final was held between Indian ace Vishwanathan Anand and Norwegian wonder kid Magnus Carlsen at Sochi, Russia and it turned out to be one of the most eagerly followed sports events in India in 2014. Carlsen had had the better of Anand in the recent past and due to his abrasive comments ahead of the tournament there was a definite competitive edge to it. However, Anand could not rise to the occasion although he did win one game en route to losing the series of 12 games within 11 games. Carlsen won 3 and showed that he is not all talk.

Anand v Carlsen Chess Bouts

7. Mohammedan Sporting goes Bankrupt

It is always a sad day when august sporting institutions go out of business and that was the case with Mohammedan Sporting, one of the 3 biggest football clubs in India when it was reported that they had gone bankrupt and would shut down all their football operations. The club which was established in 1891 was declared bankrupt on October 20, 2014 and created a lot of heartburn among the club’s fans as well as among those who are invested in Indian football. However, 4 days later their president Sultan Ahmed clarified that the club were merely going through acute financial crisis and would in fact continue to participate in football tournaments.

Mohammedan Sporting goes Bankrupt

6. Sania Mirza’s Win in the US Open Mixed Doubles

Winning a grand slam is without doubt the greatest achievement for any tennis player and for Indians it is an even bigger one since the country has had very few grand slam winners till date, which is why Sania Mirza’s US Open Mixed Doubles win became one of the sporting highlights of the year. Mirza teamed up with Brazilian tennis player Bruno Soares and played near flawless tennis in the final against US-Mexican pair of Abigail Spears and Santiago Gonzalez to win in 3 sets. However, the final set was a tense affair as it went to tie break but the duo kept their nerve to win it 11-9. Hopefully she would be winning many more Grand Slams in the years to come.

Sania Mirza’s Win in the US Open Mixed Doubles

5. Saina Nehwal Wins the USD 700,000 China Open Super Series Tournament

The China Open Super Series Premier Tournament is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world of professional badminton and Indian superstar Saina Nehwal had come unstuck in that tournament 6 times in the past which made the victory in 2014 a huge news story in Indian sports. It was a victory that finally cemented her reputation as one of the best badminton players in the world as she defeated Akane Yamaguchi of Japan 21-22, 22-20 and move into the top 5 in global rankings. This was Saina’s 3rd title of the year as she had earlier won Australian Super Series in June and the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold early in the year.

Saina Nehwal Wins the USD 700,000 China Open Super Series Tournament

4. Yuvraj Singh’s House Stoned in Chandigarh

In 2011, Yuvraj Singh was the toast of the nation when he was the Man of the Tournament in the World Cup that India won. Fast forward 3 years to another day in April in 2014 when India faced the same opposition in the final of the T20 World Cup in Dhaka and the events that followed the final will always be remembered as a blot in the history of extreme fan reaction to a defeat. India batted first in the final and with Virat Kohli playing well it was expected that Yuvraj (batting at 4) would help the team kick on in order to post a big total. However, the left hander failed to get any sort of timing and scratched around which led to Kohli’s dismissal and India’s final total of 130 in 20 overs proved inadequate. Yuvraj scored 11 in 21 balls with no boundaries and indeed his innings was responsible for India’s defeat but after the loss Indian fans in his hometown of Chandigarh threw stones at his house in order to vent their frustrations. The story completely overwhelmed the real news story of the World Cup final.

Yuvraj Singh’s House Stoned in Chandigarh

3. India’s Chase at Adelaide

The first Test of the series in Australia got off to the worst possible start for India as the hosts piled up a mammoth 517 in the first innings but India replied in kind with the bat to score 444. The match looked to be heading towards a draw but Australian captain Michael Clarke made a sporting declaration and gave India a day to score 364 for an improbable win. When everyone thought there could only be one winner, stand in skipper Virat Kohli and opener Murli Vijay put on a superb stand of 185 for the 4th wicket to take India in sight of victory as both scored half centuries. However a collapse in the 3rd session saw India lose 8 wickets for 73 runs in 18 overs and Australia won the game by 48 runs. The reason why this game stayed in the headlines for so long was because of the fact that very few teams in world cricket would have gone for the target.

India’s Chase at Adelaide

2. Pakistan Players Abusing Indian Fans After Beating India

India versus Pakistan encounters are always emotionally charged affairs in any sport and so was the case when the hockey teams of the two nations met in Bhuvaneshwar in the semi final of the Champions Trophy in December 2014. In a nail biting game, Pakistan defeated India 4-3 and emerged as the better team but the real story lay in what followed the triumph. The Pakistan players had obviously copped a lot of taunts from the Indian crowd and after winning the game they gave it back to the crowd by removing their shirts, showing the crowd the finger and openly abusing them. It was perhaps the most shameful act ever seen in a sporting arena in many years and will remain so for many years to come.

Pakistan Players Abusing Indian Fans After Beating India

1. Dhoni Retires from Test Cricket

The most high profile news story in Indian sports in 2014 broke 2 days before the year ended when India’s most successful Test captain M. S. Dhoni announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect following the draw with Australia on Melbourne. The news came as a bolt from the blue for everyone concerned including those in the dressing room and the most dramatic bit about the whole thing was that Dhoni conducted his post match press conference like business as usual. However, half an hour after the press conference the BCCI produced a press release stating that India’s most successful Test captain will no longer be in the hot seat or in the whites. There is absolutely no doubt that the biggest news story of 2014 came about on the penultimate day of the year.

Dhoni Retires from Test Cricket

Conclusion

Hopefully you enjoyed this quick rundown of the biggest news making sports stories of the last year. Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below.

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