Titanic treat: Kapil
IN THE NEWS
Another record for Lara
greatest stage of all
Carl Lewis vs Ben Johnson on the track, the USA vs Australia in the pool, India vs Pakistan on the hockey field — all classic head-to-head Olympic rivalries that live long in the memories of fans.
Throughout the 28 sports of the games, long-standing conflicts are settled on the biggest stage of all and no world title or record can match the glory of an Olympic gold.
Athens is sure to produce its own unforgettable clashes and, as always, the men's 100 metres is among the most eagerly-awaited showdowns.
The main rivalry in the blue riband event is a relatively new one, between Olympic champion Maurice Greene and Jamaican Asafa Powell.
Powell beat the American twice in the build-up to the games to become a real threat to Greene's hopes of winning back-to-back gold on the track.
''I think he's a good athlete,'' says Greene, who feels he has deserved the title of the world's greatest-ever sprinter. ''Do I think he's better than me? No.''
Only Lewis has won consecutive 100 metres titles but his second gold, in 1988, came after he crossed the line second behind Johnson, who was subsequently disqualified for doping.
There is also a fantastic race in store in the men's 10,000 metres, though it will have to be something special to top the 2000 edition when Haile Gebrselassie caught his longstanding rival Paul Tergat right on the line to repeat the 1-2 of Atlanta.
Tergat is racing the marathon this year but Gebrselassie has a new, younger threat in the shape of fellow Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.
The 22-year-old has taken his compatriot's 5,000 and 10,000 metres world records this year and will be bidding to spoil Gebrselassie's bid for an unprecedented third successive 10,000 metres gold.
The women's pole vault has seen a terrific all-Russian rivalry over the past year with Yelena Isinbayeva and Svetlana Feofanova setting eight world records between them. The two are both competing in Athens where Isinbayeva's two-week old mark of 4.90 m could go.
In the equestrian three-day event, one of the few Olympic sports where men and women compete against each other, there is a very special rivalry as Australian Andrew Hoy will be up against his wife Bettina, who is competing for Germany — riding an Australian horse.
Mrs Hoy, who won a bronze with West Germany in 1984 when she was known as Bettina Overesch, says there is no problem with the situation as she seeks to prevent her husband winning a record fourth successive team gold.
There is a family connection in fencing too where 1999 world sabre champion Damian Touya of France is seeded to face his elder brother Gael in the semifinals.
Another local fencing rivalry has gone global where two women from the same Italian town of Jesi go point to point in the foil.
treat: Kapil vs Tiger
It will be a great day when Kapil Dev and Tiger Woods tee-off together in the Pro-Am (Tag Heuer) event in Boston. Bollywood star, Shah Rukh Khan, may also be there.
Both sporting stars had faced rough times during their formative years. Kapil rose from his father’s tiny timber trade to become the country’s leading cricket star.
Woods became ferocious Tiger though his father, Earl, encountered racial prejudice before Tiger arrived in this world.
Partition of the country saw Kapil’s parents cross from an undivided Punjab to Chandigarh. Tiger was born in the USA where golf was not open to minorities. But Earl overcame all to make it possible for Tiger to achieve his goals on and off the golf course.
Both Kapil and Tiger will have no problem playing together. Both have several similarities, including ‘sharing and caring’. Here Tiger is unmatched. He reaches to uncared for kids more quickly than any other sportsperson. Kapil Dev also does it but not as much as he should.
Tiger’s hallmark is that he is not just a great golfer, but he is a great person. Maybe, Kapil, can persuade Tiger to find time to visit India.
If Tiger agrees to visit Delhi, it will provide much greater fillip to Indian golf.
Hundreds of golf enthusiasts turned up to watch Fiji’s Vijay Singh at DLF course.
Thousands will turn up to watch Tiger at any course that he chooses to play.
Says Tiger,‘‘I am the product of two great cultures. On my father’s side, I am African American. On my mother’s side, I am Thai. My parents taught me to be proud of my ethnic background. That will always be the case, past, present and future. I feel very fortunate, and am equally proud to be both African American and Asian’’.
Making and breaking records seems to have become a habit with Brian Lara. Already counted among the modern day greats along with Sachin Tendulkar, Lara has continued his steady assault on the records irrespective of the form and fate of his team.
During the third Test against England at Old Trafford the West Indies captain became the fastest to score 10,000 runs. He is the fourth batsman in the world after Indian Sunil Gavaskar and Australians Allan Border and Steve Waugh to go past the landmark.
Left-handed Lara needed 111 Tests and 195 innings to join the exclusive club. He was quicker by 13 matches and required 17 innings lesser than Gavaskar, to erase the Indian great's name from the record.
Lara already holds the world
record highest score when he scored 400 not out against England in
April. Lara has scored exactly 10,000 runs at an average of 52.91 with
26 centuries and 45 half centuries.
Players under pressure
The Punjab Government declared rewards of lakhs of rupees to those who win gold or silver medals at the Olympic Games. It is a good gesture but I have my reservations. The best course would have been to provide the best of amenities to the players during the preparations. It is a common complaint of budding players that no proper diet is provided and no proper arrangement for their stay is made at the time of training.
The announcement of the Punjab Chief Minister had definitely put psychological pressure on the players to grab the coveted amount. Why this psychological pressure at this stage ? The CM should have announced the rewards at the time of preparations so that the players could have trained properly. Moreover, there is a need to encourage other sports besides cricket which has become a lucrative game. Hockey, kabaddi and wrestling should be encouraged. Wrestling, which was once a popular game, is now a rare delight.
The way our world class batsmen faced the Sri Lankan bowlers in the final of the Asia Cup was nothing but a meek surrender, which again proved their lack of will in a crunch game. It was sheer disbelief to watch the batting greats struggling for singles.
As if that was not enough it was left to the bowlers especially Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh to let the batsmen know how to go after the bowling of Murlitharan and Vaz. They provided the much-needed relief to the over-stressed viewers of the match. It seems that the team needs the services of a psychologist to enhance their mental make up before playing the finals.
Brig H.S. SANDHU (retd)