The year 2021 turned out to be a memorable one for Indian sports. It began with Indian cricket team’s remarkable Test series triumph Down Under. A few months later, history was scripted in Japan when young athlete Neeraj Chopra clinched the first-ever Olympic gold medal in javelin throw. At the same time, the Indian contingent at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics returned with a record medal tallies.
Following an eventful sporting year, it’s time celebrate and honour the landmark victories of Indian sportspersons on the international stage. Ahead of the Sportstar Aces Awards 2022, former India cricket captain and batting legend Sunil Gavaskar, also the Chairman of the Jury’ expressed his thoughts.
“It’s probably been one of the most memorable years for Indian sport. Starting with the Indian cricket team’s fantastic win in Brisbane and then in England. Yes, there was the disappointment of not winning the World Test Championship and the T20 World Cup, but overall, the cricketing performance was very good. Then, at the Olympics, the performances of our athletes just blew us all away. India held its head high when Neeraj Chopra won the gold. When Mirabai Chanu lifted silver, we felt that we had all lifted the entire world on our shoulders. And then came the performances from our Paralympians which was also terrific,” Gavaskar said.
He also shared some insights about his role and the factors that are taken into consideration to assess the nominees across various categories.
“Firstly, to be the chairman is a huge honour, and to again meet up with other jury members with whom I have interacted over the last couple of years, and to see the magnificent performances of the Indian sportspersons are rare privileges,” he said.
Gavaskar added, “I’ve always emphasised the temperament aspect. While it is difficult to assess what temperament is, in sports other than cricket, for me, that’s where other members of the jury come in very useful, and they talk about their experience. So, you look at the achievements, you look at the competition level, you sometimes look at the venue. You look at countries where there could be a situation where the athlete might not get the kind of diet that he/she actually wants. So, all those things come into consideration, and therefore it is challenging. But it is something that makes it more interesting.”
With various marquee sporting events lined up in the next couple of years, Gavaskar said, “There is always the learning process, so sometimes there is much more to learn from a failure than from success. The mindset of the Indian athletes now is not just to participate but to win. Since some of them have not had the best of Olympics, hopefully, they would have learnt from it, they would have learnt about the pressure and will be able to cope better the next time around. It won’t be a surprise if India wins even more medals in Paris 2024”.
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