Indian sports world and sports fraternity will remember the year 2016 as the Year of Virat Kohali (cricket), PV Sindhu (badminton), Sakshi Malik (wrestling), Dipa Karmarkar (gymnastics), and hockey teams both men and women. Men’s Kabaddi team will also be remembered for winning the World Cup. PV Sindhu won women singles Silver medal in Rio Olympics and Sakshi got Bronze in wrestling. These are only two medals which Indian contingent of 117 athletes brought from Rio. But there is one athlete who did not won any medal but million hearts. She is Dipa Karmarkar, gymnast whose performance in Vault was a treat to watch Even in the fields in which India saw disappointment, there were rays of hope.
This man from the gentleman’s game has become synonyms with cricket. In 2016 (till the fourth test march against England) his achievements were phenomenal. In this calendar year he played 11 test matches and scored 1200 runs at the average of 80.00. He hit four centuries which includes three double hundreds. He also scored 235 against England in fourth test at Mumbai which is his highest score in test cricket. Besides these, centuries he also hit two half centuries. His performance in one day cricket was even better in 10 ODI’s played this year.
He scored 739 runs averaging 92.37 with the strike rate of 100.00. He also hit three centuries and four fifties. His highest score in ODIs is 154 not out. He proved good in T20 also. He played 15 T20s and scored 641 runs with the amazing average of 106.83 and strike rate of stupendous 140.26.
This way in 2016, Virat played 36 matches in all the three formats of the game and scored 2580 run with the impressive average of 88.96 the highest by any batsman in the world. The second place goes to Joe Roots who has accumulated 2476 run in 40 matches in 2016 with the average of 50.53. He is instrumental in winning three test series against West Indies, New Zealand and England. Virat Kohli hit three double tons in one calendar year.
In 2016, Virat played 36 matches in all the three formats of the game and scored 2,580 runs at an impressive average of 88.96
He hit 200 against West Indies, 211 against New Zealand at Indore and 235 against England at Mumbai. Sachin Tendulkar hit two double hundreds in a calendar year twice. He did it in 2004 and 2010. Vinod Kambli is another player to do so. He achieved this feat in 1993.
These figures do not paint the true picture of Kohli’s talent and his abilities. After legendary Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi he is the captain who made the optimum use of spinners. He showed faith in them and gave them the field which the wanted to bowl with.
He can play in all the forms of the game with same skill and authority. He hit three centuries in the last nine T20’s he played. In test marches too he performed equally well hitting three centuries from he converted two into double tonnes.
He also became 14th Indian batsman to score 4000 run in test matches. India is yet to see tis man’s talent for may more years to come..
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, popularly known as PV Sindhu has become a crusader of Indian badminton. She won Olympic silver medal in women singles badminton at Rio. Born in the family of volleyball players, she took to badminton at the age of eight. His father is an Arjuna Award winner in his game of volleyball. But PV opted badminton instead of volleyball.
This Hyderabadi girl won many tournaments at sub junior and junior level. But she got the attention of badminton fraternity when she won Macau Open Grand Prix Gold tournament and Malaysia Open title in 2013. She also got Arjuna Award in same year. Her quest for more wins did not die down and in Denmark Open in 2015 she reached the finals. On the way to final she decimated three seeded players.
She was conferred with Padam Shri the highest civilian award in the same year. She is also the recipient of the highest sports award Rajiv Gandhi Khel Rattan Award. It was bestowed upon her in 2016 only.
A gritty grappler from Haryana, Sakshi became the savior of national pride. When India was facing a dry spell at the Olympics,her sensational 8-5 victory over Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan brought up the hopes of Indians. The 23-year-old from Rohtak became only the fourth woman athlete from India to win an Olympic medal. She never gave up even when she was trailing 0-5 in the do-or-die bout.
Weightlifter Karnam Malleshwari (2000), boxer MC Mary Kom (2012) and shuttler Saina Nehwal (2012) were the only other women athletes from India to have won a medal in Olympics. After her bronze PV Sindhu also won badminton singles Silver Medal and became the fifth Indian woman to do so.
Sakshi won the crucial bout after coming from behind. She had lost 2-9 in the quarter-finals to Russia’s Valeriia Koblova, but she got second chance in repechage when her Koblova reached the final.
Sakshi was trailing in this bout too but she with sheer will snatched victory from the jaws of certain looking defeat. Kyrgyzstan girl could not stand to the last assault of determined Sakshi.
Otherwise Tynybekova was in most part of the bout. In first part Sakshi was trailing 0-5. Sakshi could open the scoring only in the second period and got two points after throwing her rival down and out of the mat.
She then managed to earn two points again with a similar move to bring down the margin to 4-5.
Thereafter, Indian girl was everywhere. She took the opponent down to level the scores 5-5, and gained three more points by pinning down her opponent in the dying seconds of this sensational encounter.
In the repechage game she thrashed Purevdorjiin Orkhon of Mongolia 12-3. Both the wrestlers equal in the first period of the match and the scores were level (2-2) at the break. But Sakshi was more
aggressive in the second period; she pinned down her opponent time and again to collect 10 points.
Dipa Karmakar did not win any medal but won the hearts of those who were watching her performing on the Vault. This 23 year old girl from Tripura become the first woman gymnast from India to qualify for the Olympics, and ranked fourth in the women’s vault finals, missing medal by a whisker. American
Simone Biles won the gold with the average score of 15.966. It is worth mentioning that since independence only 11 gymnasts had qualified to participate in Olympic Games. Among those 11, two took part 1952 Helsinki Olympics, three for 1956 Melbourne Olympics and six for 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. But none of them was a female. That way Dipa is first woman to take part in these games.
Karmakar’s average score was 15.066 for executing one of the most dangerous feats in gymnastics, the Produnova. This name was given to the vault in 1999 after Russia’s Elena Produnova who performed it with precision. This vault so far has been performed successfully by only five people in the world, including Karmakar. It’s considered one of the riskiest routines in the sport, often referred to as the “vault of death.” Dipa Karmarkar did it with precision but her landing let her down. Otherwise she could havepodium finish.
Karmakar performed the ‘vault of death’ with precision, which has so far only been performed by five other people.
Dipa Karmarkar started taking lessons of gymnastics at the age of six. She showed great commitment and put hard work in her training with Coach Bisbeshwar Nandi. With all these efforts she won more than 70 medals at home and abroad. She won bronze medal in Common Wealth Games at Scotland. She also faced financial problems during her training but she somehow managed the things. All that hard work has paid off, as India now has a new star on the horizon.
Indian men and women hockey teams brought laurels to the country. They both won Asian Hockey Championships and men junior men hockey team showed its class in four nation and other tournaments where they defeated almost all the European teams including Germany and Spain. They beat them not once but twice. This shows how the team has been steadily progressing .
In all,2016 gave India mixed results. Our male wrestlers, boxers, shooters, weightlifters and tennis players did not perform up to the mark, but players like PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmarkar gave the hope for the future. We can expect some steller performances from these and also from those who are still in line. Besides these individuals our cricket and hockey teams are also shaping well. Nation should hope the best.