India’s Unsung Heroes of the Sports World

The games are starting. It’s time to forget the roofs, the bridges and the crap – whether it’s coming from dogs or the organizing committee. Indian sports fans can probably tell you Sachin Tendulkar’s birthday, hobbies and favorite music. But ask fans to name more than 5 people who are representing India at the Commonwealth Games and they will struggle. We all know Saina Nehwal and Lee-Hesh. Here are a few more that you may not know. Sharath Kamal (Table Tennis) – The 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner seems to be in a good position to bring home another gold.
He’s been in good form this year and has displayed the maturity and confidence that all winners possess. Let’s also not forget he has been Indian number one for the past seven years. Pictured right. Ananya Panigrahi (Swimming) – She is not old enough to drive a car or even had her sweet 16th birthday for that matter, but this 14 year old will be the youngest athlete representing India in this years games. A medal may be difficult at her age, but you never know.
Sushil Kumar (Wrestling) – If you don’t know this man then you need to read the sports pages more often. He just won a gold at the World Championships in Moscow a few weeks ago and seems like a dead cert to win the 66 kg category. A medal is there for the taking, let’s hope it’s a shiny gold one. Vijender Singh, Akhil Kumar and Jai Bhagwan (Boxing) – This could be a gold rush for India. In the Commonwealth Boxing Championships in March our boxers picked up 6 gold medals, and there are three guys in the frame to do us proud this time.

Top of the pile is superstar and crowd favorite Vijender Singh (Beijing bronze medal-winner), followed by Jai Bhagwan and Akhil Kumar, the Commonwealth 2006 Gold winner and infamously, the athlete whose bed collapsed at the CWG village. One final note: I’ve heard some talk of fans boycotting the games. That would be a disaster. If there was ever a time for fans to get together and support our athletes it’s now. The first impression of the CWG has not been good, so let’s make sure the lasting impression is a memorable one.

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