Tuesday, August 12, 2008

India's best sporting achievement

Finally, we win a medal at the Olympics, and what a medal it was! It can't get better than gold, unless it's a clutch of gold medals, but nonetheless, an individual gold medal, the first in our history...wow! This sure as hell beats the sporting glory our country achieved when we won the 1983 Prudential world cup at Lords and the inaugural T20 world cup that we won last year in South Africa. And I'm not even taking into account the hockey teams' feat of 6 consecutive Olympic golds. Also, this isn't to say that an individual triumph is better than a team victory (for one thing, they shouldn't even be compared), but it's the occasion, the magnitude and the ramifications of the victory that decide which was better. When Leander Paes was asked which was the finest victory in his career, he didn't mention any of his grand slam victories, or even his victory over Pete Sampras, but the bronze medal he won at the 96 Atlanta Olympics. And the reason was simple, according to him: at Wimbledon and elsewhere, it would read, 'Leander Paes & Mahesh Bhupathi - Winners', but at the Olympics it said 'India - 1 medal'.

The cricket team of the past (1983) and the current crop that won the T20 world cup deserved every bit of the plaudits that they received, and you can't blame them that cricket isn't a sport in the Olympics where they could perform and try to win a medal for the country on a world stage of this size, but then again, our athletes who make it to this theater of athletic and sporting pinnacle don't get paid the way our cricketers do, and so it's only fair that they be given a slightly larger share of the plauditary pie; even our cricketers wouldn't mind it for sure.

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