Posted by: kcgadiyar | February 24, 2012

5 predictions from “The Sport Star” in hindsight: 2000-2003

In the course of my daily arbit-surfing i came across the “Sports Illustrated Jinx” which basically states that appearing on the cover or being mentioned in the cover story of the Sports Illustrated jinxes an athlete or team. So, i decided to look through what is the closest approximation to “Sports Illustrated”, that being “The SportStar” and see if i can find instances of the cover jinx here as well. Unfortunately, the online archives only go back to mid-2000. So, i decided to break it down further and will cover 2000-2003 in this post and other years as and when i find time to go through the archives again. So here are the 5 predictions from SportStar covers which they got wrong or are hilarious in hindsight (all articles are linked in the titles):

1. Bhupathi-Paes, June 23-29 2001: This article was written after the first time Paes and Bhuphati reunited following a rift between the two.

The article states “That Bhupathi and Paes have re-invented themselves as world beaters is something that should thrill the fans in this country, for they still have a few years left in which to add greater laurels. ” Unfortunately, personal issues came between the two over and over again and everytime they reunited after this, it was just a countdown to the inevitable split.

Bonus: Gustavo Kuerten never managed to win another slam post this article.

2. and 3. Sanjay Bangar  and the rest of the Indian youth wave from 2002 (Mar 9th and April 13th 2002)

The story of Indian cricket is such that we will find a lot of promising talent being featured prominently only to disappear without a trace a month later. Reading through the archives shines a spotlight on these cases.

The first article linked above is probably the only time in history that anyone has compared and contrasted Sanjay Bangar with Adam Gilchrist. That is the only reason it is seperate from the other article. The intro reads “While Bangar cracked a century against Zimbabwe, Gilchrist knocked the stuffing out of South Africa in its own backyard with a stupendous double hundred. Here’s a look at these contrasting personalities.”

Bangar was unlucky during his time with the time in that a sustained run eluded him as India seemed to constantly be in a “rebuild for the World cup” phase.

The second article suggests that Dinesh Mongia, Sanjay Bangar, Ajay Ratra, Wasim Jaffer and Tinu Yohannan are knocking on the doors of the Indian team. They were, they got in and for various reasons they never were seen again.

4. Inconsistency in men’s tennis (Sept 20-26, 2003): The headline goes “HOW many men have won at least two Grand Slam titles in the last two seasons, 2002 and 2003? The answer, believe it or not, is none.

The next year, Federer came along, followed by Nadal 2 years later and now Djokovic and they are supported by Murray and to some extent Tsonga. Nowadays the question being asked in Men’s tennis is “How many times can we see the same players dominate?” What a change in 8 years.

5. Indian Men’s Hockey (Oct 11-17 2003): This article is really optimistic about Indian hockey, which of course is funny now when we see what happened over the next few years. The article leads with the line: “Now that a berth is ensured for the World Cup in 2006, all the efforts should be geared to earn a spot for the Athens Olympics next year, from the qualifier at Madrid in March. ” India qualified, finished a poor seventh and were universally panned at home and failed to qualify for Beijing. This of course led to finger pointing and everyone blaming everyone else.

The best bit from the article “When K. P. S. Gill took charge as President of Indian Hockey Federation in 1994, he sought a period of eight-year programme to produce results. The success of that programme reflected with the Indian team’s triumph in the Junior World Cup at Hobart in 2001. And the man who guided the stars to this stage was the former Olympian and penalty corner striker, Rajinder Singh. ” I guess he only had a 8-year plan because Hockey went into a nosedive following 2002 and has only recently started the process of recovery.

Bonus articles:

1. For a few (million) rupees more: This talks about the money involved in Indian cricket and how players may be easily lured by it and forget that they have a duty to the nation. 9 years on and we are still talking about the same thing.
2. Asia and Africa national teams in Football: This talks of the progress in national teams from asia and africa. 2 further world cups down the line and nothing has changed. This article could be printed verbatim and would still make perfect sense today.

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