the-south-asian.com January 2003
JANUARY 2003 Contents
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Sports - 2002
Sports - 2002by
The year 2002 had all the ingredients of high drama in sports. The gist can be summed up in four words---champions, cheats, prodigies and money.
For years now sport has never been so much in the news as it was in 2002. It was a year of highs and lows. Of near hits and misses.
India's jubilant gold hunt at the Asian and Commonwealth Games was marred by use of performance enhancing drugs by athletes. If India found virtuous batting talent in cricket it was still groping in the dark in search of bowlers. Though Indian hockey came good, football still had miles to go. For sports lovers it was a mixed bag. Hopes soared and so did despair.
The year 2002 had all the ingredients of high drama. The gist can be summed up in four words---champions, cheats, prodigies and money.
Things may not have gone the Indian way in cricket, but there was a lot to cheer about at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. For the first time Indian sportspersons brought glory to the country with a haul of 69 medals of which 30 were gold, 22 silver and 17 bronze.
Though by international standards this doesnít make India a sporting power, it certainly is a big improvement over a total of 25 medals in 1998 and 24 in 1994.
Even as a major chunk of these medals came from weightlifting and shooting---30 and 24 respectively, there were contributions from others as well. Women's hockey team struck gold and so did Indian boxers and wrestlers.
The 22-year-old Mohammad. Ali Qumar gave India the first boxing gold in the Commonwealth Games defeating English boxer Darren Langley. Ramesh Kumar and Krishna Kumar annexed gold medals in wrestling. Anjali Bhagwat hit the Bullís eye four times and weightlifter Kunjurani Devi, who came to the event after serving a six month ban, lifted three gold medals.
But there was a downside to India's hour of glory. Two lifters were denied their medals after testing positive for a banned substance. Krishnan Madsamy and Satheesha Rai pleaded their innocence but no one was listening. That in a way spoilt the Indian party.
As in the Commonwealth Games it was party time for the Indian contingent at the 14th Asian Games at Busan in South Korea. The spirited Indians bagged 32 medals--10 gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze.
It was a family affair for K.M. Beenamol and brother K.M. Binnu who struck gold and silver in the women's and men's 800m events respectively. Another young lady from the tiny village of Kombotinjhal in Kerala, Anju Bobby George bagged gold when she leaped 6.53 m. in the long jump. Neelam Jaswant Singh earned gold in discus while Saraswati Saha took a gold in the 200m.
Young golfer Shiv Kapur gave India its first ever gold in golf in two decades. India won gold in billiards and kabbadi but had to settle for silver in hockey.
But here too the Indian golden run was marred by the news that sprinter Sunita Rani had been stripped of her gold and bronze in the 5000m. and 1500m. respectively after testing positive for a steroid called nandrolone. However, the Indian authorities gave a clean chit to the athlete and have been appealing to the world athletic body to clear her name.
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