Indian sport had its share of highs and lows in 2012. .

The high, undoubtedly, will be India’s impressive showing at the 30th Olympics in London with a haul of six medals and a promise of doing better in future Games.

The low, obviously, will be the International Olympic Committee’s suspension of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) which has put into serious doubt India’s further participation in any Games unless the ban is lifted soon .

Athletes shine

The success, or the lack of it, on the cricket field with India losing to England and Australia in away Test series and again to England at home was certainly one of the news lows for a country where this game akin to religion.

Nobody more than Indian athletes symbolise the growing stature of Indian sport, especially in Olympic disciplines. The triumph the athletes achieved in sports such as wrestling, shooting and boxing is a cause for optimism of a better show in future, beginning with the Rio de Janeiro Games in four years’ time.

Eye opener

A lot of pre-Games projections might have gone wrong, causing a lot of embarrassment to many sports bodies. But then, for a country like India, where sport still has a amateurish setup, the suspension of the IOA should come as a real eye opener. There is no better time than now to clean up the apex body and bring in new energy and accountability.

Next only to India’s Olympics showing was Viswanathan Anand’s defence of the World chess championship. In winning his fourth title, he proved to be the real sporting ambassador of the country. Anand’s achievement can be termed as one of the greatest in the annals of Indian sports history.

Cricketing heroes

The Indian cricket team’s batting middle-order collapsed with the retirement of Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman.

Before the country could recover from the twin blows and subsequent discomfiture on the field came the news of Sachin Tendulkar calling it quits on his one-day internationals career.

Indian sport was not without its share of controversies. Mahesh Bhupathi’s refusal to partner Leander Paes at the Olympics left Indian tennis in tatters.

What was considered to be a sure medal turned into agony as neither the Mahesh Bhupathi-Rohan Boppana pair nor the Leander Paes-Vishnu Vardhan duo could do much at the Games.

sabanayakan.s @thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 30, 2012)
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