2014 has been a magnificent year for the sporting fraternity. From Team India’s topsy-turvy cricketing journey to Germany’s World Cup conquest, there were plenty of surprises in store. Here’s a look at the top 10 sporting moments that created a buzz in 2014:
1. Rohit Sharma enters the record books.
Eden Gardens literally was on fire this year as it witnessed one of the most historical ODI innings ever! Rohit Sharma smashed an unbelievable 264 in his comeback ODI against Sri Lanka, leaving spectators and fans in utter disbelief. Rohit broke a number of records along the way; one of which was becoming the first and only batsman in world cricket to have scored two ODI double hundreds in his career. This swashbuckling knock by the young Cricketer definitely had to top our list!
2. Lewis Hamilton crosses the finish line.
The superstar had to wait really long to get his hands on the coveted trophy! Six years after he clinched his maiden Formula 1 World Championship title with McLaren, Lewis Hamilton finally put the monsters to sleep. He topped off a fabulous racing season with Mercedes with a championship win this year. Hamilton surely had to work his way up after a series of failures and disappointments. But this year, he received the ‘BBC Sports Personality Award 2014’. Nothing tastes sweeter than victory and the Brit knows it better than anyone!
3. Germany grab FIFA.
While his fans hoped to see the genius of magician Messi at work, Germany silently added title number four to their World Cup tally. They beat four-time finalists Argentina in the grand finale of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It was their first title victory since the German reunification in 1990 and nothing could stop them from winning, not even Lionel Messi!
4. Football fever strikes India.
With the advent of Indian Super League in India, footballs fans finally got something to cheer for in an otherwise cricket-crazy nation. ISL kick-started with a bang, attracting football lovers from every nook and corner of the country. Be it the franchise, its players or their owners, the tournament was very well-received and only grabbed more limelight as it progressed. Cricket is a religion, they say. With ISL booming like it should, we’re pretty sure there’s competition already!
5. The big Tennis reunion.
Not even in our wildest dreams, would we have imagined watching Roger Federer and a Novak Djokovic playing each other right in front of our eyes. Well, 2014 surprised us with the International Premier Tennis League. It gave tennis fans a once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch legends like Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras live in action. In only its first edition, IPTL roared in India and soared in Dubai and other countries. We think the format is here to stay!
6. Saina and Srikanth conquer China.
Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal has been one of the shining stars of India’s Badminton circuit ever since her debut. Both Saina and Kidambi Srikanth recently bagged the women’s singles and men’s singles titles at the China Open. What makes Saina’s feat commendable is the fact that she bounced back strongly after a victory-less 2013. Young Srikanth, on the other hand, stunned the world by upsetting two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan. Saina Nehwal makes us believe that with dedication and commitment, women too can excel in sports.
7. India strike gold.
An India-Pakistan clash is always special. Whether it is Cricket or Tennis, the rivalry has brought out the best of both teams on the field. This year, the Indian Hockey team created history by beating their nemesis Pakistan in the Asian Games finale at Incheon. The gold medal came after a huge gap of 16 years, and the Indian team has now earned a direct qualification at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. There couldn’t have been a prouder moment for Indian Hockey!
8. Re-writing history at Lord’s.
It took 28 years for an Indian cricket team to deliver a Test victory at the Home of Cricket and they did it in absolute style! Ishant Sharma registered career-best figures of 7/74 and scripted one of the most historical Test wins for India at the most daunting cricket ground in England. It was Team India’s first overseas win since 2011, and their first at Lord`s ever since Kapil Dev’s army took guard in 1986. Now that’s a special feat!
9. Switzerland bag the elusive trophy.
”This one is for the boys”, said an overjoyed Roger Federer, after beating Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. He gave Switzerland their first-ever Davis Cup title! The 17-time grand slam champion was ably supported by Swiss compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka. He had a fantastic season of tennis this year and added the only missing trophy to his cabinet. Surprisingly, Switzerland had previously played in just one Davis Cup final in 1992, when Federer was barely 11.
10. Checkmate, Vishy.
He may have had to face disappointment at the World Championship at Sochi at the hands of Magnus Carlsen. But Viswanathan Anand bounced back in about two weeks to clinch his maiden London Chess Classic title. He beat British Grandmaster Michael Adams to ensure this victory. The five-time world champion deserves all the accolades for being the sole Indian representative and making India proud time and again!
So that’s how 2014 panned out for us sport lovers! Here’s hoping for an action-packed 2015, which kicks off with India’s campaign at the ICC Cricket World Cup in February! Are you excited?