The question of what might have been the trajectory of Indian football if Sailen Manna and Mahabir Prasad had converted those two penalties against France, will continue to haunt us until the day the first eleven men of Indian football stand on the biggest stage of world football – the World Cup finals.
By the time Tokyo Olympics 2020 comes around in two years, Manika will be 24-years old. The rate at which she is maturing and improving it will not be a surprise if she closes in on or targets Top 10 ranking by then. At that level a medal is a distinct possibility. And if she manages to do that and brings home a medal from the Olympics, Indian table tennis will not be the same anymore. Like cricket’s 1983 moment when it all changed, Brisbane 2018 could then become the moment where the dream started for Manika and Indian table tennis.
The eyes of the nearly 10,000 members of the Jewish faith in India (and cricket-lovers like you and me) will, however, be on the cricket team which is determined to put up a good show and try their best to climb the peak that holds the medals of Gold, something that has eluded them thus far.
“Pressure? There is no pressure in Test cricket. Real pressure is when you are flying a Mosquito with a Messerschmitt up your arse.”
Nick Kyrgios’ eight-week suspension from the ATP for “perceived lack of effort” after the Shanghai Open last year, was followed immediately by a decision that attracted less attention at the time.
So what is it about these meltdowns? How can top teams with players in form and with an enormous reservoir of experience, collapse spectacularly under pressure? Is it just the pressure, is it a lack of application, experience, presence of mind? Or maybe these are just isolated examples in a cricketing world which by and far follows the script of ‘may the better team win’.
Craig McDermott, Chris Cairns, Adam Hollioake, Wally Hammond, Brian Statham and Tony Lock. It would be an extremely difficult question for the best quiz buff to answer, if asked for a common thread that links these cricketers of yore. For the answer is to be found well beyond the 22 yards and indeed the 90-yard boundary lines at the MCG or the Eden Gardens. The common thread that exists here is that all of the above fell into severe, and in certain cases, debilitating and life-threatening financial difficulties once their playing days were over.
Goldman Sachs says France has a 23 per cent chance of exploiting home advantage and is going to win Euro 2016 beating Spain in the finals. Goldman Sachs is good at predicting a lot of things. Football results, however, is not one of them.
Ferenc Puskas is a name that the world of football has almost forgotten and Hungary is a team that no one has taken seriously for decades. That should not be the case.
The United States attracts accomplished veteran athletes like a magnet, enabling them to switch citizenships quickly and easily. Between 2000 and 2008, about 50 athletes who had competed in international events for their countries became US citizens, including ten from China. Together, they won eight medals at the Olympics for the new country.