City scape: The Capital is dotted with stadia that are inscribed with tales of excellence
It was back in 1982, a little before the Asian Games came to the city. P.T. Usha, then a rising star, was sweating it out at the all new Jawaharlal Nehru stadium. Turned out, every drop was well spent as she went on to corner glory not just at the Asiad but later at the Commonwealth Games and even the Los Angeles Olympics where she missed a medal by a whisker. Thanks to Usha, the stadium remained etched in my memory, though its track and field meets have been few and far between. Once Kirti Azad became a darling of the masses by slamming sixes against Pakistan in an exhibition day-and-night cricket match. Once Brazil’s Sao Paulo club showed its mettle even as our own Anadi Barua enjoyed his fifteen seconds of fame in the match.
Really, Delhi for all its well documented apathy to physical fitness has wonderful stadiums, each coming with a little ounce of glory. For instance, there is the Ferozshah Kotla stadium, not the prettiest cricket ground in the country, but one which Anil Kumble chose to write his name in the annals of the game by taking all ten wickets against Pakistan! Or the good old National Stadium; the hockey team is well past the age of being top rankers in the world, but at the Dhyan Chand stadium, one feeds off memories. Not to forget the exploits of our grapplers at the Chhatrasal stadium; Leander Paes and the tennis team punching above its weight at the DLTA complex or the Tughlakabad shooting range where our men and women have seldom failed to hit the bull’s eye.
All these moments of glory make one ponder, how come Delhiites still fail to be inspired by their deeds? Well, they do get inspired, but showcase their skills elsewhere. For proof, just watch out pot-bellied men trying to ride over the road dividers or the iron grills at chaotic roads! How is that for 15 micro moments of fame?