Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Monday, October 29, 2007

sporting heroes

post 1982 Asian games in Delhi, the sporting scene exploded in India - coinciding with the induction of colour television and live telecasts.

the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics cemented this with the heroics of carl lewis and pt usha. and this was the olympics which saw the emergence of china into the world sports scene. and how they exploded. and one man - Li Ning in gymnastics was outstanding (lots of jokes like, "i am not standing, i am leaning" made the rounds).

as a goggle eyed teen, i was completely mesmerised.

the match which is etched in my memory is the 1987 world table tennis championship finals in Delhi. here it is on youtube.
jiang jialiang vs jan ove-waldner. jiang won - wildly cheered by me.

in that period, other than the usual suspects - McEnroe, Becker, Platini, Maradona and of course the Indian cricket team which won the 1983 world cup and 1985 B&H championships - here are my heroes:

Table Tennis (other the the 2 above)
Lui Guoliang (China) - of the unplayable serve
Kong Linghui (China) - he also beat waldner like JJ, but 13 years later.

Badminton
Yang Yang (China)- the master
Zhao Jianhua (China) - see his sublime play
Liem Swie King (Indonesia) - the only non-Chinese
Han Jian (China)- the precursor to YY and ZJ
Joo Bong Park and Moon Soo Kim (South Korea)- the doubles legends

Gymnastics
Vitaly Scherbo (Russia) - 1992 Olympics was all his
Shushunova, Silivas and Boginskaya - Russia, Romania and Russia - what a competition at the 1988 Seoul Olympics

Swimming
Michael Gross (W Germany)- The Albatross
Matt Biondi (USA) - 7 medal winner at 1988 Seoul is now a teacher
Greg Louganis (USA) - diver exemplary

including the chinese, i remembered all their names (except silivas) and their accomplishments (not entire career, of course). the late 90s and this decade is not as resplendent in my memory.
those were the days.

4 comments:

kbpm said...

yes, at that time sports was really everything. now it clashes with my concept of one world and global citizenship and so on. of course there is too much of cricket, golf & racing on TV, which are very annoying compared to basketball, soccer, athletics, gymnastics, etc. Back then I was not picky, have watched hours of that German Fruit Picking Competition in the 80s!! (Of course went crazy over all of the Olympics and Asiad and European Championships that they used to show)

Ludwig said...

have you read "Touch Play", Prakash Padukone's biography by Dev Sukumar? It's written very "conversationally", but very very inspiring. For some sambar hudga from Malleswaram to go against Morten Frost and the Hartono and the other Indonesians and Chinese, pretty incredible. Talks about the state of badminton, the utter shock when Prakash hit the international circuit, training alone etc. etc. I really loved the book (and not just because my cousin is a character in it!).

Dev couldn't find a publisher and had to publish it himself, I think. Such a pity, imagine if it had been a cricket book.

And have you read this Dhanraj Pillay book, "I'm Sorry Amma" or whatever? Thoughts?

csm said...

kbpm - i just watched the triple jump event on mute on DD sports. so enthralling. almost like jumping with each one. and trying to guess the distances (tho' with all those holographic markers, it is too easy)
in 82, me and my uncle used to play this guessing game. unforgettable.

l - pp is a class act. what he achieved is on par with anand. if you add deepika, it is unparalleled in indian sports.
shows how focussed parenting can help (what say?)
got this photo

dp i never liked. i was a fan of thoiba singh, mhd shahid and zafar iqbal.

kbpm said...

we watched an NBA game and a movie about the Knicks last weekend. Really got majorly enthu. There must be videos of past events avialable, would be loads of fun to watch that stuff, even though we know the result and its not live etc.