I, Tonya

I, Tonya  is a 2017 American black comedy biographical film directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Steven Rogers. It follows the life of figure skater Tonya Harding and her connection to the 1994 attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan. It features interviews with the characters in mockumentary-style set in the modern day, as well as fourth wall breaking. Margot Robbie (who also produced) stars as Harding, Sebastian Stan plays Harding’s husband Jeff Gillooly, and Allison Janney plays Harding’s mother LaVona Golden; Julianne Nicholson, Caitlin Carver, Paul Walter Hauser, and Bobby Cannavale also star.

Although enjoyable, I find it odd that the movie focuses on Harding and her ex-husband Jeff who conspired to hurt and intimidate Nancy – maybe not to hurt her that badly – but still the story is about the wrong doers. The infamous incident about the attack on her friend and rival Nancy Kerrigan is one of sports and media history, so much so that it is still clear in my mind all these years later. Harding has stuck to her story and maintains that she did not do anything wrong other the fact that once she found out about the attack on Nancy and that her only crime is not coming out sooner, having hindered the investigation.

After Tonya’s confidence is shaken by a death threat; Jeff realises he can do the same to Tonya’s main rival Nancy Kerrigan. However, Jeff’s delusional friend Shawn Eckhart, seeking notoriety and prestige, hires two inept crooks to attack Kerrigan after a practice session in Detroit. Kerrigan’s knee is badly injured by Shane Stant, and both men involved are soon arrested. Eckhardt’s bragging around town quickly leads the FBI to him. He points the finger at Jeff, who is horrified to learn that Eckhardt gave orders beyond sending death threats via letters. Tonya qualifies for the Olympic team amid the allegations that she was involved in Kerrigan’s attack. Realizing that she will be found guilty by the association, she goes to the FBI and tells them what Jeff and Shawn did, who then show her written testimony to Jeff during the interview, and he races to her house to attack her. Tonya leaves him for good and he implicates her to the authorities, claiming she knew about the attack.

At the Olympics, Tonya comes in eighth place and Kerrigan wins the silver medal. Her abusive and inept mother comes to see Tonya amid a media circus but is thrown out when Tonya realizes she is wearing a recording device and ejects her from her home. Jeff, Eckhardt and Stant are all sentenced, with Tonya’s trial postponed until after the Olympics. Tonya avoids jail but is given three years probation, 500 hours of community service, and a $100,000 fine. She is also forced to withdraw from the 1994 World Figure Skating Championships and is banned from competitive figure skating for life. Heartbroken, she begs the judge to give her jail time rather than take away the one thing she knows how to do; the judge declines. Jeff acknowledges that he ruined Tonya’s career, changes his name and remarries. Tonya embraces her notoriety and becomes a boxer, whilst becoming a nurturing mother to her own children.

Brilliantly acted but I don’t really see the point about telling their story. It is fun to see 80s hair and clothes and the music is awesome. Robbie, the excellent Janney & Sebastian are all delightful in their roles as not so likeable people. 8 outta 10!

Goon: Last of the Enforcers

Goon: Last of the Enforcers is a 2017 sports comedy film directed by Jay Baruchel in his directorial debut and written by Baruchel and Jesse Chabot. A sequel to Goon (2011), the film stars Seann William Scott, Baruchel, Liev Schreiber, Alison Pill, Elisha Cuthbert, Callum Keith Rennie, Wyatt Russell, Marc-André Grondin and Kim Coates.

During a pro hockey lockout, several top players are now playing in the lower league. Doug “The Thug” Glatt has just being named as the captain of the Halifax Highlanders and with media focus has descended on the lower league, and the owner of the Highlanders, Hyrum Cain (Callum Keith Rennie), seeks to capitalize on the attention. In a close fought game, Doug is goaded into a fight with the rival team’s enforcer, Anders Cain, an up-and-coming player with a violent streak, and the son of the Highlanders’ owner. Anders wins the fight, and with Doug badly injured, the Highlanders lose the game.

With a busted by shoulder, Doug retired after a party in his honour and goes to join a more stable job as an insurance firm in their supplies section. Doug’s wife Eva is pregnant and they both prepare of the birth and life as new parents. Without Doug, the Highlanders go on a long losing streak, prompting the owner to push for changes. He signs several overseas players and pushes to add his own son to the team. Hyrum foresees Anders as the new captain of the Highlanders, and although the coach disagrees with the move, anticipating locker room dysfunction, Hyrum strong arms him into making Anders the new captain. Doug is missing the game and his Highlanders and goes to his old rival now friend Ross “The Boss” Rhea, who has left hockey and now competes in a hockey fighting league, where he is the current champion.

Ross agrees to train with Doug to strengthen his left arm for fighting Ross convinces Doug that if he joins the hockey fighting league and impresses, it could be a way to get back into minor league hockey. Doug takes Ross’ advice, but the first fight ends up being a battle royale style brawl, instead of the one-on-one fights that Doug had witnessed before. Ross is exhausted at the end as only he and Doug are left standing and is helped to the changing room by Doug. In the locker room after the fight, Ross reveals that he has post-concussion syndrome, and doctors have recommended that he stop playing, as one more bad hit could cause a permanent injury. At the same time, the Highlanders have improved with Anders as the captain, but not enough to get into playoff position.

Anders’ self-sabotaging play, in which he constantly is being penalized for fighting, has kept the Highlanders outside of a playoff spot. He also has antagonize the rest of the squad and their play suffers as a result. During another losing effort, Anders grows frustrated and ends up knocking out the entire opposing team. He is promptly suspended, and the coach demands a change. Hyrum, having seen Doug fight again, brings Doug and Ross back in. Eva makes Doug promise that he won’t fight and supports his return to hockey.  the Highlanders narrowly win in Doug’s celebrated return. The Highlanders go on a winning streak, but when Anders returns from suspension, he goads Doug into being more aggressive. Doug and Anders interrupt a game during a dispute, and they are both suspended for the next game.

During the game’s afterparty, Anders provokes Doug into a fight, and when Eva sees that Doug has been fighting again, she kicks him out of the house. Meanwhile, the Highlanders must win the last two games of the season to sneak into the playoffs and Hyrum also sacks his own son Anders who promptly rejoins Reading, his old club. While Ross helps the Highlanders to win the first of their last two games, Eva goes into labor, and Doug reconciles with her as they head to the hospital. After having her baby, Eva realizes that the same drive that led Doug to be with her during the birth, is the same drive that pushes him to want to defend his teammates on the ice, and she gives Doug her blessing to continue fighting. Doug returns to the Highlanders in their final league match vs Reading.

The game is immediately chippy, with both Ross and Anders starting fights.As the game enters the third period with the game tied, Ross and Anders are involved in a scuffle, and Anders cheap shots Ross, checking him from behind into the boards. Ross is knocked unconscious, and while paramedics take him away on a stretcher, Doug enters the rink to fight Anders in retaliation. Doug uses his southpaw training to beat Anders, but when Doug shows mercy, Anders threatens Doug, claiming that he will never stop coming for him until they are both like Ross, being carried out on stretchers. Realizing that his new family is more important to him than hockey, Doug uses his weakened right arm to level Anders, but throws his arm out and has to be helped off the ice. Hyrum rushes to his son’s aid, where Anders tells him that he hates hockey, and the two appear to mend things between them.

Having been told earlier that further injury to his right arm would be career-ending, Doug realizes that his hockey days are behind him. He watches as the Highlanders win the game in the final seconds, and during the celebration, he sets his stick down and goes home. The ending is actually spectacular and sad and yet celebratory. He chooses his son and wife to a sport he loves. Although it’s not great, there are some really fun moments. I love ice hockey and this movie just strengthens that love. 7.5 outta 10!

Borg Vs McEnroe

Borg McEnroe, also known as Borg vs McEnroe, is a 2017 internationally co-produced multi-language biographical sports drama film focusing on the famous rivalry between famous tennis players Björn Borg and John McEnroe at the 1980 Wimbledon Championships, culminating in their encounter in the men’s singles final.The film is directed by Janus Metz Pedersen, from a screenplay written by Ronnie Sandahl, and stars Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård, Tuva Novotny, and Robert Emms.

I was a little less than a month short of turning 4 when this great match took place and as I ofcourse wasn’t into tennis back then, I never watched it. Around 1987 I first watched Wimbledon and became hooked to the sport (though I stopped following the sport by the year 2000 and football once again became numero uno in my life). We have a sports magazine called SportsStar in India and I was a subscriber for the next 8 years as I wanted my monthly tennis fix, other than watching it on tv and reading about it in the papers.

Around 1988 I became fascinated with Bjorn Borg, though he had retired a couple of years before that, and I even asked my dad to buy me his 1980 autobiography “My Life & Game”, co-authored by writer Eugene L. Scott. It was a look into his life, childhood and his years at the top of the men’s game which sadly ended prematurely at the age of 26 in 1982. He was an icon – and still is – for the sport. The movie focuses a lot on Borg’s state of mind during that Wimbledon, with all the pressure on him as he went for an unprecedented 5th consecutive men’s singles title. His heavily anticipated final with his rival McEnroe was one for the books.

It’s a must watch for all fans of the sport of tennis and those of us who remember Borg as the ultimate professional. The Ice Borg had cracked under pressure many times but he held it together in public. A 7.5 outta 10!

RIP Cassius Clay Aka Muhammad Ali

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali – one of the world’s greatest sporting figures – has died at the age of 74. The former world heavyweight champion died late on Friday at a hospital in the US city of Phoenix, Arizona, having been admitted on Thursday. He had been suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease. Ali’s funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, said his family. Ali was crowned World Heavyweight Champion 3 times, the Light-heavyweight Olympic gold medal once and had a 31 fights in a winning streak before being beaten for first time by Joe Frazier.

George Foreman, who lost his world title to Ali in the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” fight in Kinshasa in 1974, called him one of the greatest human beings he had ever met. American civil rights campaigner Jesse Jackson said Ali had been willing to sacrifice the crown and money for his principles when he refused to serve in the Vietnam war. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Ali shot to fame by winning light-heavyweight gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Nicknamed “The Greatest”, the American beat Sonny Liston in 1964 to win his first world title and became the first boxer to capture a world heavyweight title on three separate occasions. He eventually retired in 1981, having won 56 of his 61 fights. Crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC, Ali was noted for his pre- and post-fight talk and bold fight predictions just as much as his boxing skills inside the ring.

But he was also a civil rights campaigner and poet who transcended the bounds of sport, race and nationality. Asked how he would like to be remembered, he once said: “As a man who never sold out his people. But if that’s too much, then just a good boxer. “I won’t even mind if you don’t mention how pretty I was.” Soon after retiring, rumours began to circulate about the state of Ali’s health. His speech had become slurred, he shuffled and he was often drowsy. Parkinson’s Syndrome was eventually diagnosed but Ali continued to make public appearances, receiving warm welcomes wherever he travelled. He lit the Olympic cauldron at the 1996 Games in Atlanta and carried the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony for the 2012 Games in London.

Fandom

Are you a sports fan? Tell us about fandom. If you’re not, tell us why not.

Yes I am, though I don’t watch as many games I as used to. Mainly because I have to stream them online and cannot watch them on a tv anymore. Therefore I usually watch just a match or perhaps 2 a week and maybe 6 in a month. I am a football fan and the team I support is Arsenal FC. I have been a fan since 1997-98 and I support them through and through. I try and watch all their matches that I can.

The only other sport I have a big interest in is ice hockey but I rarely ever get to watch a live game and I haven’t watched a recorded one in it’s entirety in the last 3 years or so. I used to watch the highlights for as many games as I could on Youtube till last year but haven’t watched any in 2014 or 2015. I plan to pick up again soon. I support the Ottawa Senators since 2002 onwards. I love hockey but not as much as I love football.

I used to watch a lot of tennis but haven’t followed the sport since the late 1990s. I used to watch a lot of WWE/WCW but stopped following it since 2007.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Khaira Pride of Punjabi-Canadian Hockey Fans

Jujhar “J. J.” Khaira (born August 13, 1994) is a Canadian professional ice hockey Center currently playing for the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League (NHL). Khaira was drafted 63rd overall by the Oilers in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Khaira is just the third Punjabi player to appear in the NHL, after making his NHL debut against the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 28, 2015, he also became the third player of South Asian descent to play in the NHL, after Robin Bawa, and Manny Malhotra.

After two seasons in the British Columbia Hockey League with the Prince George Spruce Kings Khaira and after he was drafted by the Oilers, Khaira committed to play collegiate hockey with Michigan Tech of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. At the completion of his freshman season in 2012–13 with Huskies, Khaira left college to pursue a major junior career closer to home in the Western Hockey League with the Everett Silvertips. On August 7, 2013, he was signed to a three-year entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers. In the following 2013–14 season, Khaira posted 43 points in 59 games with the Silvertips. At the elimination in first-round of the post-season, Khaira then made his professional debut with the Oilers AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons, joining the club for their post-season run.

He suited up for the Oilers playing on a line with Anton Lander and Matt Hendricks. Robin Bawa and Manny Malhotra are the other two Punjabi players to have played in the NHL. Bawa played 61 games in four seasons, including 42 with the 1992-93 San Jose Sharks. Malhotra had a storied 991-game career and is currently a free agent.

Dupuis Unable To Play Hockey Due To Blood Clots

Sad news to restart posting about hockey after such a long gap.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis will no longer play hockey because of a medical condition related to blood clots, Dupuis and the Penguins announced Tuesday. Dupuis felt pain in his chest during a Dec. 1 game against the San Jose Sharks, one of several games he either left early or did not play this season for precautionary reasons. He was cleared and returned to play on back-to-back nights against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks last weekend but said he was already considering retirement. Dupuis was playing this season taking blood thinners. He was diagnosed with blood clots in January 2014 shortly after sustaining torn ligaments in his knee and missed the remainder of the 2014-15 season after a blood clot in his lung was discovered in November. He was cleared to work out and take contact in June 2015.

Dupuis spoke about the aftermath of coming out of the game against the Sharks and the mental toll the health concerns took. The Penguins will place Dupuis, 36, on long-term injured reserve and continue to pay his salary. He is in the third year of a four-year contract with an average annual salary of $3.75 million. Dupuis made the NHL as an undrafted player, scoring a goal in his first game for the Minnesota Wild on April 2, 2001. He became a regular with the Wild over the following four-plus seasons, scoring 20 goals and 48 points during the 2002-03 season, when Minnesota reached the Western Conference Final. Dupuis was traded twice during the 2006-07 season, from the Wild to the New York Rangers, and after six games from the Rangers to the Atlanta Thrashers.

Dupuis played 79 games with the Thrashers before he was dealt again prior to the 2008 NHL Trade Deadline, this time to the Penguins in a trade that also involved forward Marian Hossa. Dupuis helped Pittsburgh reach the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, where it lost in six games to the Detroit Red Wings, and win the Stanley Cup in 2009 in a seven-game series against Detroit. A frequent linemate of Sidney Crosby during his time with the Penguins, Dupuis set NHL career highs in 2011-12 with 25 goals and 59 points. He averaged 18 goals and 40 points in his first five full seasons in Pittsburgh before his final three seasons were curtailed by injuries and the blood clots. Dupuis finishes with 190 goals and 409 points in 871 regular-season games, and 19 goals and 44 points in 97 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Ending On A High Note

I have never heard of the name Flavia Pennetta before this weekend but her’s is a feel good story of ending on a high. Having just been crowned the 2015 US Open Women’s Champion, her first single’s Grand Slam title, at the age of 33, Flavia stunned the 23,000 crowd by announcing her retirement from the game. She will end her career in a low key fashion in China, after the drama of the finest hour and a half of a career that properly began at the age of 17, when she won the French Open girls doubles with her close friend Roberta Vinci in 1999, and rose to a glorious peak here on Saturday, when she beat the rain by four minutes and her compatriot by 7-6, 6-2 in the first all-Italian major final.

Marion Bartoli won Wimbledon in 2013 in her 47th major campaign, then quit a couple of months later after losing to Halep in faraway Mason, Ohio; Pennetta, who won a major after 49 attempts, will say goodbye to her sport in Wuhan, then Beijing. She had success here and there, winning 10 titles before Saturday, where victory lifted her from No26 in the world to No 8. Not only was her hunger for tennis waning – she almost quit last year with a wrist injury – but she had found love again. Beaming down from the stands in celebration of her triumph on Saturday was the Italian tennis radical, Fabio Fognini. Pennetta was pronounced a Knight of Order of Merit of the Republic on 24 January 2007 by Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, then President of Italy.

Being able to go out on a personal high is a chance that so few get the chance to do. There are still some major titles left in the calendar year but the US Open is the last slam of the year and choosing that moment to announce your retirement must have been an emotional rollercoaster for her. Yet it is also a envious moment for many.

RIP Steve Montador

I Former NHL player Steven Montador was found dead inside his Mississauga home early Sunday morning, according to Peel Regional Police. Police said a female friend woke up at 2 a.m. to find Montador deceased. She contacted police and he was pronounced dead just after 2:30 a.m. at his residence. “Foul play is not suspected, pending the outcome of an autopsy,” said Const. Fiona Thivierge, a Peel police spokesperson. At this time, Thivierge said, the incident is being treated as a sudden death investigation, not a criminal investigation.

Born in Vancouver, the 35-year-old began his NHL career with the Calgary Flames in 2001-02. He went on to play defence for a number of NHL teams including the Carolina Panthers, Boston Bruins, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks. He last played in the NHL during 2011-12 season for Chicago and suffered a season-ending concussion. He went on to play for the American Hockey League’s Rockford Icedogs the next year before moving to the Kontinental Hockey League for the 2013-14 season. On June 28, 2013, the Blackhawks announced Montador would be bought out making him a free agent during the off season.

He won the 2000–01 AHL Calder Cup with the Saint John Flames. In 10 NHL seasons, Montador compiled 33 goals and 98 assists for 131 points and 807 penalty minutes.

RIP Steve Montador (December 21, 1979 – February 15, 2015)

Weekend Planning

The upcoming weekend is going to be an exciting one for us – with that comes movies to watch, catching up on the week’s tv show episodes and ofcourse – football! There is nothing like watching the English Premier League matches at home on the telly with you friends or relatives and rooting for your favourite team. Somehow the English league is the one to watch and especially here in India, more football fans follow the English teams than the ones in Italy, Germany, Spain or other nations. Why? I’d say that it boils down to our connection with the British Isles, having once been under their rule, the charm of the English clubs, cities and town and perhaps the timings of the games as well (perfect for late evening watching in India) could also be a big factor! I plan to watch a few games over the next two days.

And ofcourse no game is complete without some good food. Just like our Western counterparts, we enjoy some good food and snacks as we watch the games on tv. And what food goes best with sports? Why pizza ofcourse. We plan to go get 4-5 large pepperoni & cheese pizzas from Dominos or perhaps barbeque chicken pizza and bring it to my place before the weekend. If we are running late and the match is about to start, we just order online and also look for e-coupon deals that e-coupon deals we can use for buying the pizza. Just look at a couple of the pics below – man my mouth is watering just thinking of the pizza!

“If we are running late and the match is about to start, we just order online and also look for e-coupon deals that we can use for buying the pizza. Just look at a couple of the pics below – man my mouth is watering just thinking of the pizza!”

And I’m always on the lookout for discounts that Dominos or other places can offer you; especially when they post them on Facebook or Twitter. And check this out, I also found a place that gives you a general discount for outlets that includes Domino’s. Any one who wants to avail of these offers from CupoNation can do so by clicking on the link. It comes in handy, especially when like us if you are planning on buying a few pizza pies at a time. We are a hungry bunch of guys, so we will surely finish the food by the first half of game one but then – hey, we can always order more, right?

The Ridiculous Behaviour Of Indian Cricket Fans

A huge bunch of Indians can be an intolerant & idiotic lot who sit in their mighty big well and believe that the world outside does not exist. This latest incident just highlights the moronic behavior of these assholes. Maria Sharapova earned the wrath of some Indian cricket fans who were miffed when she replied “I don’t” when an interviewer asked her if she knew who Sachin Tendulakr was. The reason the question was asked was because Tendulkar was in the stands along with some other other major celebrities including David Beckham. Sharapova knows who Beckham is and has met him a few times but being a Russian, who has also spent a lot of time in the US, she is not a cricket fan and is unaware of the man considered and called rather ridiculously as the ‘god of cricket’ by most Indian cricket fans as well as some abroad.

The response of these miffed idiots was to litter social media and in particular Maria’s official Facebook page with abuses, taunts and spam to show that they are are ignorant & intolerant bunch of idiots! They started a hastag in Twitter called #whoismariasharapova and the story of this incident was carried in numerous websites and the comments in some of them can shame the rest of us Indians who know how to differentiate between an insult and someone not knowing a sportsstar from a sport she does not follow and has no interest in.  Indians would not major stars of some other sports but cricket, tennis & football – yes they do know! And that’s because those sports are popular here. It’s simple logic and yet this simpleness escapes the “brains” of these idiots.

The behaviour of some section of Indian cricket fans is typical of the ignorance / rudeness / backward thinking of some sections of our society. This whole ‘incident’ has highlighted not Maria Sharapova’s ignorance of a sport that is celebrated in only a few nations but the fact that some Indians know nothing about the rest of the world! Most non-cricket playing nations would be hard pressed to name Tendulkar or any other top cricketer. It’s like ice hockey or baseball – 99% of Indians do not know the name of the NHL legends or the baseball greats whereas even little kids in Canada and the US will know their fav sport personalities and same for European & South American nations. I don’t like cricket, I personally couldn’t care any less about it. The only reason I know Sachin & Dravid and them players is because I live in India where these names are on constant rotation on tv, newspapers & social media. Stop acting like idiots and behave like decent human beings!

Silken Laumann On “Unsinkable”

Sportsmen & sportswomen are human too. Already an iconic figure in the sport of rowing, Canadian athlete Silken Laumann inspired many by winning a bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics despite having had a horrific & serious injuries to her leg just a few weeks prior! The collision with another rower’s scull was so serious that it shattered her right ankle and shredded her calf muscles in that you could see the bone but five operations and a total stay in the hospital of approximately three weeks, Laumann was back on the water training by late June. Her efforts paid off with a bronze medal, and she was subsequently named Canadian of the Year by the Canadian Club in recognition and was selected to carry the Canadian Flag in the closing ceremonies of the Olympics.

This year, age 49 Silken had published her book Unsinkable which focuses on her life & troubled childhood and also opens up in particular about the terror she felt and the verbal and physical abuse she experienced at the hands of her troubled and erratic mother, abuse that caused her feelings of unworthiness she battles to this day. She says this book took 5 years to write and came about as she did open up bits of her life during her long stint as a motivational speaker . Here is an interview with her by Fiona Forbes on The Rush.

India At The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

The XXII Olympic Winter Games, or the 22nd Winter Olympics is currently being held at Sochi, Russia (7th Feb 2014 – 23rd Feb 2014). This winter olympic games is already marred by the by major controversies, including allegations of corruption leading to the aforementioned cost overruns, concerns for the safety and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes and supporters during the Games due to the country’s recent restrictions on the promotion of LGBT sexual relationships (which have led to ongoing protests) and various security concerns over threats by jihadist groups tied to the insurgency in the North Caucasus. Several fans from various nations have opted to boycott watching the games due to these factors.

Here’s my 2 cents worth – I wouldn’t boycott watching the Olympics if its an event I would normally watch. I’d still support my teams/athletes and watch the sports that I love. The sportsmen & women have not done anything wrong, so I’d support them and keep watching. But if there’s any way I can show my displeasure & disapproval to Mr. Putin and his government in other ways, I’d join in. But my issue is something else altogether and it’s to do with India and not Russia. One look at the different countries who’s athletes will be competing in the various sports sees a large nation missing – ofcourse it’s India! India has never had much success at the Summer Olympics, much less the Winter ones. We normally send one or two people to the Winter games (I’m not joking; last time in Vancouver we had 3 Indians representing our nation). This year I checked the competing nations and found no Indian flag! But there are 3 Indian athletes at the Olympics and they will competing.

Himanshu Thakur (Men’s Giant Slalom), Nadeem Iqbal (Men’s 15km Classical) and Shiva Keshavan (Luge Men’s Singles) are all Indians competing in their respective sport but will be under the Independent Olympic Participants category. This is because the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), who are responsible for selecting athletes to represent India, is suspended on 4 December 2012 due to non adherence of International Olympic Committee rules and on the basis of corruption, government interference. Several members of the IOA have been charged with crimes. The IOA was formally banned for not following the Olympic Charter in their elections, instead following the Indian government’s Sports Code. The IOA held elections under the Indian Sports Code due to a directive from the Delhi High Court. On 15 May 2013, International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to lift the ban on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as Indian representatives from the government and sports bodies reached an agreement with IOC officials but the suspension remained. It was announced on December 31, 2013 that India would be competing under the Olympic flag in Sochi. Elections by the Indian Olympic Association are scheduled two days after the opening ceremony, which would not provide enough time for the suspension to be lifted.

A shame India, a goddamn fucking shame indeed! My heart goes out to the 3 athletes and I hope they do well.

Your 2013 Men’s & Women’s Singles Champions

At the age of 28 Marion Bartoli won her first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon. At 28 years, 9 months, she is the fifth oldest first-time winner in the Open Era. She is the sixth woman in the Open Era to win Wimbledon without dropping a set, it has happened nine times in total. She is the first woman to win Wimbledon in the Open Era playing double-handed off both sides. It was her first victory on her 47th attempt.

Andy Murray won his first Wimbledon title and ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s champion with a hard-fought victory over world number one Novak Djokovic. Wimbledon is Murray’s second Grand Slam title after he won the 2012 US Open.

Leander Paes Still Plays At 40!

Indian tennis’ veteran star Leander Paes just turned 40 years old and he still wants to keep going and play in his seventh Olympics Games. He still features in the doubles events in the ATP Tour and the Davis Cup tournament, grinding it out with the younger lot. He is the only tennis player in the world who has featured in six consecutive Olympics. But the Indian says he still has a lot of fire in his belly to improve his game and play in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Paes said he would reunite with his Czech partner Radek Stepanek, with whom he won the Australian Open last year to complete his career slam. An injury to Stepanek followed by surgery forced Paes to look for other partners and no partnership succeeded. Paes, whose has dropped out of top-10, said he was looking forward to play with Stepanek again. They will start with a tournament in England, which will be a warm-up for Wimbledon.

Having won seven doubles and six mixed doubles Grand Slam titles and finishing as runner up in numerous other Grand Slam finals, he is considered to be one of the greatest and most respected contemporary doubles and mixed doubles players in the world. He is among the most successful professional Indian tennis players and is also the former captain of the Indian Davis Cup team. He is the recipient of India’s highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, in 1996–1997; the Arjuna Award in 1990; and the Padma Shri award in 2001 for his outstanding contribution to tennis in India. Paes completed the career grand slam in men’s doubles after winning the Australian Open in 2012.

I remember going to see him play the singles & doubles finals of a short lived tournament at the clay courts tournament held by the Cochin Oil Refireries at Ambalameedu back in 1991! I was15 and I went with a cousin and our uncle to see the singles & doubles finals, both in which he competed and lost. A friend of mine from school was also there and I ditched my uncle & cousin to sit with my buddy as we watched both finals. At the end we stood in line to get autographs and I’m pretty sure I still have his somewhere in my stuff, packed in the store room. Hope you continue to have success until you decide it’s time to retire Leander!