2018 was an incredible year for Indian sports. At the Commonwealth Games held at Gold Coast in Australia, India won 26 Gold medals and a total of 66. India repeated its feat at the Asian Games in Jakarta winning 15 Gold medals in a tally of 69.
Indian under-19 team clinching the World Cup, PV Sindhu breaking her silver medal jinx, Mary Kom winning a record-equalling sixth gold at World Boxing Championship, Star wrestler Bajrang Punia becoming the World Number 1 – were some of the proud moments of 2018.
With all the glorious moments in 2018, we witnessed a fair share of controversies that surrounded Indian Sports. Let us take a look at the major controversies that grabbed the headlines in the year passing by.
1. Those who love watching foreign cricketers bat should leave India: Virat Kohli
Indian cricket captain is undoubtedly the most loved cricketer. He wears his heart on his sleeve and plays the game with passion and aggression but his recent remark on an Indian fan loving foreign cricketer caused immense backlash. So much so that he had to calm down his trollers.
A fan tweeted that he enjoys watching English and Australian batsmen more than the Indians. Kohli replied,”Okay, I don’t think you should live in India then…you should go and live somewhere else, no? Why are you living in our country and loving other countries? I don’t mind you not liking me but I don’t think you should live in our country and like other things. Get your priorities right.”
He was called out by many cricket fans and sports personalities alike, upon which he tweeted, “I guess trolling isn’t for me guys, I’ll stick to getting trolled! I spoke about how “these Indians” was mentioned in the comment and that’s all. I’m all for freedom of choice. Keep it light guys and enjoy the festive season. Love and peace to all”.
2. Sanjita Chanu tested positive for doping, No Wait!
Two-time Commonwealth Games champion, weightlifter Sanjita Chanu was tested positive for a banned steroid and suspended by the International Federation. The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) had said that Chanu was tested positive for testosterone.
The case took a dramatic turn when the IWF admitted that they had committed a mistake. The IWF admitted to mentioning two different urine sample numbers in its communication of her dope flunk.
While sending the dope result notification to Sanjita on May 15, the IWF mentioned sample code number 1599000 as the one collected on November 17 last year at Las Vegas while it mentioned sample code 1599176 in the results section.
Sanjita, who had been claiming innocence from the beginning, has written a letter to the international federation to institute an inquiry.
3. Athletics Federation of India calls Hima Das’ English ‘not so fluent’
The “Dhing Express” as Hima Das is fondly called, scripted history at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. The 18-year-old clocked 51.46s to win the gold becoming first Indian track athlete to have won a medal in the history of this competition.
The AFI tweeted,“#HimaDas speaking to media after her SF win at #iaaftampere2018 @iaaforg Not so fluent in English but she gave her best there too. So proud of u #HimaDas Keep rocking & yeah,try ur best in final!”
Fans lashed out at the Federation for ridiculing her English speaking skills. After which the AFI had to issue an apology. “We apologise to the country if our tweet hurt sentiments. We merely wanted to show that Hima is fearless whether on the track or outside. Despite being from a small village, she spoke freely with the foreign media. We apologise again to those who were offended,” AFI wrote in shudh Hindi.
4. BCCI CEO Rahul Johri accused of sexual harassment #MeToo
The biggest talking point in the later half of 2018 was the #MeToo movement. Several women came out against top influential personalities in the field of entertainment and media, accusing them of sexual harassment and misconduct. BCCI CEO Rahul Johri was one of them.
Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) CEO was accused of indulging in sexual harassment by a woman during his stint at Discovery channel. The woman accused Johri of taking advantage of her at his house after promising a job opportunity.
The CoA formed a three-member panel comprising of former Allahabad High Court judge Justice Rakesh Sharma, Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Barkha Singh and former CBI Director P C Sharma for probing the allegations.
However, finally, Johri was cleared of all sexual harassment charges with the allegations termed as ‘fabricated’.
5.Syringe found in the room’s of Indian boxers at the Commonwealth Games?
A syringe was found outside the room of India boxers, which was against the no-needles policy of the Games. The needles were discovered by a cleaner near where the team’s boxers are staying. However, there wasn’t anything related to dope.
Officials of the Indian contingent were summoned to explain the entire incident. India’s boxing high-performance director Santiago Nieva admitted that a syringe was used but it was used to give a “vitamin substance” to an ill boxer.
He was let off with a reprimand as he was found of not disposing off the needles safely after injecting it to the boxer.
6. Coach Romesh Powar humiliated and discriminated me: Mithali Raj
This was one of the biggest if not the biggest controversy that rocked Indian sports this year. Indian women’s cricket great Mithali Raj accused coach Ramesh Powar of humiliating and discriminating her during the women’s World T20 in the Caribbean.
“My issues with the coach started immediately as we landed in the West Indies. At first, there were small signs that his behaviour towards me was unfair and discriminatory but I did not bother much about it”. She further alleged that Powar, in a bid to insult Mithali, barred her from being a part of the team huddle before the second innings of their semifinal against England.
Responding to Mithali’s allegations, Powar submitted a 10-page report to the BCCI, including nearly a five-page assessment of Raj, “I was saddened by her attitude and it gave me an impression that Mithali Raj comes first and then India. She threw a lot of tantrums and created a lot of chaos,” Powar stated in his report.
“I hope Mithali Raj stops blackmailing, pressurising coaches and also stops putting her interest first than team’s. I hope she will look at the bigger picture & work towards the betterment of the Indian women’s cricket,” he added further.
However, Powar’s coaching tenure came to an end and the BCCI didn’t give him any extension.
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