Looking Beyond Cricket.
There was a time when Indian hockey team dominated the world. Once Indian domination in hockey ended with their last Gold Medal at 1980 Moscow Olympics the scene shifted to cricket where India achieved reasonable success as a team with their 1983 World Cup win and 1985 World Series win being the major successes. One thing however was common in both the eras was the fact that Indian domination or success was confined to a single sport. When India dominated hockey they hardly achieved anything in any other sport and likewise when they achieved success in cricket they hardly had any major achievements to talk about in other sport.
However in the last two decades India can very proudly talk about its sporting achievements for they achieved success in many sports at the same time, something which never happened earlier. While Sachin Tendulkar took cricket to the status of a religion in India and himself to the status of a God and in the process inspired future superstars like Sehwag and Dhoni to take up the game, Viswanathan Anand achieved tremendous success in chess winning tournaments and world championships with remarkable consistency. During this period Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes making it a routine of winning Grand Slams in Doubles and Mixed Doubles, while Sania Mirza time and again proved that she is among the best in the world reaching a career high singles ranking of 27. Athletes were not to be left behind with Anju George doing well at world championships while shooters like Abhinav Bindra and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore have managed to do spectacularly getting medals in individual events at high profile events like Olympics which millions would not have even dreamt of two decades back. The latest sensation Saina Nehwal has done millions proud in badminton by being ranked number two in the world achieved on the strength of 3 consecutive titles.
This article is not to offend the previous generation of sportsmen as sportsmen of the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Michael Ferrera, Prakash Padukone have conquered the world in their respective areas, but then the type of success India enjoyed in the last 20 years in various sports and that too at the same time is something that was unheard of.
Let us hope that our sportsmen bring more and more laurels to our country and also wish that our hockey team regains its past glory.
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