Hyderbadis at the helm

Strong state of affairs (from left) Gagan Narang, Asher Noria, and V.V.S. Laxman

Strong state of affairs (from left) Gagan Narang, Asher Noria, and V.V.S. Laxman  

Sport The past fortnight has seen Hyderabadis dominate the sports world

The Hyderabadis never had it so good in the world of sport. It started with ace shooter Gagan Narang clinching the bronze 10 m air rifle event in the World championship in Munich on July 31 and becoming the first-ever Indian to book a slot for the 2012 London Olympics.

Next, 17-year-old Asher Noria won a gold in the juniors category of the same championship in Munich, picking up his third gold in a world-level competition. The classy V.V.S. Laxman wasn't far behind as he came up with another unbeaten century to guide India to a five-wicket victory and save No. 1 Test team from serious embarrassment.

It was also a rare instance of two Hyderabadis playing a key role in an Indian Test as 23-year-old left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha in his sixth Test was spot on with his seven-wicket haul in the match even as the critics were zooming in on him after a disappointing first two Tests. Then it was the turn of seasoned campaigner Sathi Geetha, sulking at being ignored for the Arjuna Award this year, who chose the best platform to demonstrate her efficacy — the Senior national inter-state meet in Patiala. A stunning three-gold haul and in the process helping her teammates win the relay gold occurred for this girl whose parents hail from Marteru (Tanuku, AP).

All this followed the sensational run that India's premier woman shuttler Saina Nehwal has been having at the highest level. Only a few days ago, she was the World No. 1 with a difference — topping the BWF Super Series rankings by virtue of winning two of the four Super Series in which she took part, besides reaching the semi-final in the prestigious All England championship and the quarter-final at Malaysian Open.

Significantly, each of these Hyderabadis came up with the special performances despite facing many odds. It is ironical that 35-year-old Laxman, despite playing in his 113th Test, continued to be on ‘trial'. He silenced the critics by playing a lead role when the big guns failed. For Gagan, it has been more stunning, considering that the announcement of Rajiv Khel Ratna a day before his World championship competition almost saw him give up the sport since he strongly feels that he deserved it this year.

Asher Noria's is an outstanding performance in the double-trap event as he picked up his maiden world championship gold. “It is the most satisfying one in my career for it came in demanding conditions,” he remarked. Fortunately, unlike many of his contemporary peers, this youngster has nothing much to regret for want of anything. He is in his own world after translating dreams into realities in the shooting ranges.

Even as Andhra Pradesh, especially Hyderabad, once tipped to be the sports capital of India, is having a lull in terms of sporting activity, these athletes did their state and country proud.


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