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What I would like to see in sports in 2012

Last updated on: January 3, 2012 18:31 IST

Wish for World Cup win granted

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Ivan Crasto

As 2012 takes its first steps there's much to hope for, says Ivan Crasto.

This time it's more than just two wishes, though there's just one from cricket.

At the start of the year gone by I had wished for two things: That India would win the World Cup, and a turnaround in the fortunes of Indian hockey.

The first materialised after Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit that six in the 48th over of the final against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede as India regained the coveted Cup after 28 years.

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Image: India Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hits a six to win the 2011 World Cup for India in Mumbai in April last year
Photographs: Getty Images

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Indian hockey continues to wither

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My second hope did not come true.

Indian hockey continues to wither.

The eight-time Olympic gold medalists, the last of which came at Moscow in 1980, have still to qualify for the London Olympics -- they failed to make it to the 2008 Games in Beijing, for the first time -- and the warring Indian Hockey Federation and Hockey India are hardly concerned, their growing off-field skirmishes getting more attention than the upcoming Olympic qualifier in February.

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Image: The Indian hockey team
Photographs: Reuters

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DRS should be used consistently by all teams or not at all

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As 2012 takes its first steps, there's much to hope for. This time it's more than just two wishes, though there's just one from cricket.

No, no, it's not Sachin Tendulkar's 100th international ton. That's just another number and one the batting maestro will surely get. It's the DRS, the Decision Review System!

The process of using technology for referral of a decision by the on-field umpire to the third umpire should be used consistently by all international teams or not at all.

It is not for India, on for any other country for that matter, to accept or reject, but the ICC, as the ruling body, to make it mandatory.

Isn't it farcical that the video reply can be referred to when a bowler oversteps, sends down a no-ball which gets the batsman out, and not for a glove or edge for caught behind decisions?

If technology has to be referred to, let the umpire call for the review or don't use it at all.

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Image: Ricky Ponting asks for the Decision Revision System as his partner Michael Clarke, right, looks on
Photographs: Getty Images

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Optimism that India will return from London with more medals

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With the Olympics coming up in July, there's optimism that India will return from London with more medals.

Since India made its debut at the Games in 1900 at Paris, it has won just 20 medals, nine of them gold. Eight of those gold medals are from hockey.

Abhinav Bindra increased that tally in 2008 when he won the men's 10 metre Air Rifle event in Beijing and gave India its first individual gold at an Olympics.

India's showing at the Games has improved over the last three Olympics.

In 2000, at Sydney, woman weightlifter Karnam Malleshwari finished with a bronze in the 69 kg category. At Athens, in the Games that followed, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore gave India its first silver medal in the men's Double Trap shooting event.

India's best medal haul came at the Beijing Games in 2008. Three medals -- Bindra's gold; freestyle wrestler Sushil Kumar's bronze in the men's 66 kg category; pugilist Vijender Singh's bronze in the men's 75 kg event.

For the first time, India -- a nation of 1.2 billion people -- won more than a medal at an Olympics.

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Image: Abhinav Bindra poses with the gold medal he won in the men's 10m air rifle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
Photographs: Getty Images

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Count on the shooters to deliver

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That tally could certainly increase this time around. Count on the shooters to deliver.

Gagan Narang earned India's first spot for the London Games by finishing third in the 10m air rifle category at the World Championships in Munich.

The 28-year-old Hyderabad-based shooter had won two silver medals at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, in 2010.

He is listed for three events -- the 10m Air Rifle, 50m Rifle Prone and 50m Rifle 3 Position -- in London and is a good bet to finish on the podium along with Abhinav Bindra.

Sanjeev Rajput, Ronjan Sodhi, Anuraj Singh, Rahi Sarnobat, Vijay Kumar, Shagun Chowdhary are the other who have qualified for London.

Though the likes of Rajyavardhan Rathore, Samaresh Jung, Mansher Singh and Manavjit Sandu are yet to make the cut, shooting is one discipline India can expect medals from.

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Image: Gagan Narang
Photographs: Getty Images

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Saina could win a medal too

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Then there is Saina Nehwal.

Though 2011 was a disappointing year for the injury-hit shuttler after a high-successful 2010 -- she won the Swiss Grand Prix gold and had two runners-up finishes in Malaysia and Indonesia -- count on her for an individual medal at the Olympics.

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Image: Saina Nehwal
Photographs: Getty Images

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Can Usain Bolt emulate Carl Lewis?

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And don't miss the 100 metres final in London!

Can Usain Bolt retain his Olympic crown?

The Jamaican will defend the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x100 metres gold medals he won in Beijing. He may also run the 4x400 metres.

The showman athlete has had a disappointing year, having been disqualified from the 100 metres final at the 2011 World Championships following a false start.

No athlete has won four gold medals since Carl Lewis at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. Can Usain emulate Carl?

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Image: Usain Bolt
Photographs: Getty Images

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One would like to see some force stopping Lionel Messi and Barca

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Finally, one would like to see some force stopping Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona.

Messi scored twice as Barcelona routed Santos of Brazil 4-0 in Yokohama, Japan, in December to win its second Club World Cup in three years to solidify its stature as the world's best club team.

Can they be denied a second successive UEFA Champions League crown?


Image: Lionel Messi
Photographs: Getty Images

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