Indian athletes who came so near, yet remained so farAugust 29, 2017
Many are already calling PV Sindhu’s effort as one of the most enduring in Indian sport. Here is a walk down memory lane where we pick a few of those special times when the contest left the Indian sportsman and the fan physically and emotionally drained.
PT Usha (1984 Los Angeles Olympics)
PT Usha was at the peak of her powers and a real hope in the 400m hurdles. Usha clocked 56.81 sec in the heats and 55.54 sec in the semifinals. In the final, she clocked 55.42 sec, finishing fourth, trailing the eventual bronze-medallist by an agonizing 1/100th of a second.
Milkha Singh (1960 Rome Olympics)
Milkha Singh had been clocking impressive timings in the run up to the Games and had beaten most of the top contenders at various meets. Expectations were sky high, but the Flying Sikh miscalculated his run when it mattered most and finished fourth. That’s a memory that still rankles the great sprinter.
Limba Ram (1992 Barcelona Olympics)
The archer came close to Olympic podium at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. Just ahead of Barcelona, Ram had equalled Takayoshi Matsushita’s world record in the Beijing Asian Archery Championships in the 30m event with a score of 357360 for gold. Fans were counting on him for a repeat performance in the Olympics. However, he fell short by a single point in the 70m competition, and missed out on the bronze.
Leander Paes/Mahesh Bhupathi v Ivan Ljubicic/Mario Ancic (2004 Athens Olympics)
In 2004, the pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi was rated as the finest doubles players in the world. All of India was certain that the duo would return with a medal from Athens. Things did not go as per plan and they were beaten by the wild card Croatian pair of Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic in the bronze-medal play-off. The Indians had numerous opportunities to shut out the match, but were pipped 6-7 (5), 6-4, 14-16 in three hours and 58 minutes in a nerve-racking contest that began on a Friday night and ended in the early hours the next day.