2014 is coming to an end. This year has been fortuitous for Indian players from different areas of sports. Last week we witnessed some thrilling finishes in Football and Kabaddi with Atletico de Kolkata winning the first edition of Indian Super League football tournament, and India crushing Pakistan to win 5th Kabaddi World Cup. With the onset of New Year and more victories in hand, let’s have a look at year-end sports round-up.
Ankita Raina wins ITF $25000 title
India’s Ankita Raina has made India proud by winning the one-sided final of the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) women’s $25,000 tennis tournament. This was the India no.1 woman singles player’s maiden $25,000 title. Continuing her steady progress in the WTA circuit, she defeated British teenager Katy Dunne by a 6—2 6—2 at the Deccan Gymkhana courts in Pune. Ankita became the sixth Indian to make it to the finals in the 14-year history of the tournament.
Srikanth Kidambi ranks No. 4 in BWF rankings
Continuing his meteoric rise , India’s leading male shuttler Kidambi Srikanth jumped two places to take a career-high fourth position in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings. At the end of year 2014, he became the third Indian male shuttler to break into the men’s singles top-five, reaching a career-high fourth after hovering in the 40’s in the beginning of the year. In 2013, he was ranked 47th in the world rankings. Thanks to his recent victory at the China Open Super-series Premier where he defeated five-time world champion Lin Dan, and his semi-final reach in back-to-back tournaments in Hong Kong and Dubai.
Sunil Chhetri titled 2014 AIFF Player of the Year; Bala Devi wins the women’s crown
Indian national team captain Sunil Chhetri has been titled ‘AIFF Player of the Year’ for the third time in four years. According to an All India Football Federation (AIFF) release, Chhetri was chosen the winner on basis of votes from Coaches from I-League clubs. Sandesh Jhingan, who played for Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League (ISL), was declared the ‘Emerging Player of the Year’. Furthermore, Bala Devi has been declared the ‘Woman Player of the Year’. The 24-year old Bala Devi scored 16 goals to help India retain the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) women’s crown in Islamabad.
Yuvraj Singh scores hat-trick of centuries in Ranji Trophy
In November 2014, 33 year old Yuvraj Singh was dropped out from the 2015 World Cup 30-man probables squad, IPL outfit Royal Challengers Bangalore’s 2015 set-up and BCCI’s contract list. But these drop-outs didn’t affect the Punjab batsman, as he recently hit his third century in the ongoing Ranji season. Following his hundreds in the first two matches of the season, against Haryana and Maharashtra respectively, Yuvraj made another century against Saurashtra at Rajkot. Yuvraj’s scores in the last 5 innings were 59, 130, 136, 13 and 106. This season Yuvraj topped the the list of leading run-getters with 444 runs, followed by Tamil Nadu batsman Abhinav Mukund at the second spot with 414 runs.