Just as we were getting back into the contagious relaxed rhythm of sports, the virus has suddenly emerged again. The year 2022 is going to be tough for sports, sportspersons and of course the fans. The calendar is packed with diverse sporting events.
For India, 2022 would go beyond just an examination of human endurance and resilience. It would test the next-generation athletes who are expected to carry the country’s sporting legacy. It could be the stepping stone for the next Olympics and a barometer for gauging performance of stars and superstars. It might turn into a year that could propel an obscure sportsperson into the world of fame.
The Commonwealth Games (July-August) and the Asian Games (September) would be the perfect launching vehicle for some stars still in the fringes, who are looking for that little spark to excel—especially in sports like badminton, athletics, wrestling, hockey, boxing and shooting. Even as most national sports federations have been insisting that it’s time to infuse new blood, the two events would determine how much courage they have to back youngsters and usher in change after the Olympics. In Indian sports, pressure from multiple sides, including individuals and organisations, is not new. One particular World Championships—athletics—would be followed more intensely than ever before. It’s here that Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra’s mettle will be tested before heading to the two multi-discipline events. For one of India’s greatest Olympic athletes P V Sindhu, All England would be the holy grail she would be chasing besides other challenges.
It would be sacrilege to not mention the T20 cricket World Cup in Australia later this year and what awaits the Indian men’s team. After the recent brouhaha over captaincy changes in the shorter formats, all eyes will be on that title as India has not won an ICC trophy since 2013. The young team led by a veteran and a new coach knows how important the cup would be for transitioning into the next phase. For the Indian women’s team, the World Cup in New Zealand would be the focus. Again, everything depends on the pandemic that has the ability to alter any situation in a short time.