BENGALURU: India’s Silicon Valley was in a league of its own in 2015. While other leagues and outfits focused on entertainment, Bengaluru Football Club was also serious-minded.
Bengaluru Football Club led the way as it won the Federation Cup, the second team from the city after the now-defunct ITI in 1977, and also emerged as the runners-up in I-League soccer. The defending champions drew with Mohun Bagan in a thriller to lose out on the title. Yet, they did very well to make the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup and in the process became the first team from the city to figure in the prestigious continental championship.
Not Far Behind in Cricket
With many city-based cricketers in its ranks, Karnataka scripted history in domestic cricket too. They won the Ranji Trophy in 2013 and 2014. They won two major titles in 2015 but surrendered the Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy for the 2015-16 season.
Nevertheless, players like Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, K L Rahul, Sreenath Arvind and Karun Nair, came to the fore and some even earned India call-ups from time to time. Rahul scored a century against Australia in the Sydney Test in January 2015. Karun scored a triple century in the final against Tamil Nadu in March 2015. His marathon knock of 328 was the highest individual score by a Karnataka batsman in a Ranji final, as he broke the legendary Gundappa Ranganath Viswanath’s knock of 247 against Uttar Pradesh in 1977-78.
Karnataka also unearthed fresh talent like Jagadeesha Suchith, Shreyas Gopal, Abhishek Reddy and Prasidh Krishna.
Bronze in Badminton
Badminton ace Ashwini Ponnappa who won a bronze medal in the World championship in the company of Jwala Gutta of Hyderabad in 2011, continued to dazzle at major events.
Top of the Table in Cue Sports
Cue sports exponent Pankaj Advani remained on top in IBSF billiards and snooker. He won the IBSF snooker title as well to add to his billiards successes.
Coursing Through With Golf
Golfers Aditi Ashok and Anirban Lahiri set many courses on fire as well with Lahiri making waves on the pro-circuit. Table tennis star Archana Kamath bagged titles galore and there was hardly an event in which she did not finish on the podium.
Infrastructure Pulling Players Down
Despite so much success, the city lacks proper sports infrastructure. The limitations of the facilities are exposed when major events are organised leading to embarrassment. It’s time the powers-that-be provided better facilities for the sporting fraternity to perform better. Will the New Year ring in a new era of sporting excellence?