Milorad Cavic / Anthony Nesty

It was a very long time ago. Exactly 20 years ago in fact. The Olympics were being held Asia, in Seoul, Korea.

And there was a swimmer attempting the Holy Grail of Swimming. Matt Biondi of the US was the glamorous rock star of swimming that Michael Phelps will never be…. and he was attempting the impossible, that of equalling Mark Spitz’s 1972 record of 7 gold medals.

A reason for Biondi’s superstardom was also that he was winning the marquee events, the 50 freestyles and 100 freestyles. And well, he was winning…. everything on his way was blown away, and he was moving with a sense of inevitability towards the milestone.

And then there was a 100m butterfly race. Biondi was expected, as usual to blow the race away, and even the world champion, Michael Gross of West Germany, did not seem like he will have a chance against the inevitable Biondi machine.

And indeed, Gross didn’t. Biondi did beat Gross. But there was this unheralded guy from a country nobody had ever heard of…. he touched the pad a mere 0.01 of a second in front of Biondi. That guy was Anthony Nesty, of Surinam, only the second black person to win an Olympic aquatic gold.

Cut to present – Michael Phelps (less of a rock star and an eminently likable guy, seemingly) in trying to do one better, he indeed is trying to overhaul Mark Spitz’s record by going for 8 golds, in this Olympic games in Asia.

The World Champion is Ian Crocker. It seems that he will have a tough time in his hands defeating the inevitable Phelps machine in the 100 butterfly.

And then, there is Milorad Cavic (click here). He is indeed from a slightly more known country, Serbia. And he has the fastest time of the finalists. (click here) Can he do a Nesty? I suggest, track this race. It might be the biggest of this Olympic games.

Saina vs Yulianti (2)

Such a good lead in the third set.. she just petered out … Yulianti wins.

And now the commentary… how Indian sportspersons this, and how indian sportspersons that….. Can we stop this now?

Saina is very young, even in comparison to the other Quarter-finalists, and will be good for two more Olympics. This experience can only serve her well.

And indeed, a very good effort.

Bindra! Gold! Yes!

Abhinav Bindra has just won India a gold (yes, I said it right, a gold! A GOLD!) in the men’s 10m Air Rifle event!

Ah, joy!

Proud of you, Abhinav… so damn proud of you.

[p.s. Know what, he even keeps a blog (click here). He hasn’t included posts of his Beijing heroics yet of course, but I will sure be checking out for the next update]

Ankur Poseria

let’s get realistic, is no Sangita Rani Puri yet (who was, if anyone remembers, loaded with talent and if she would have fulfilled her potential, would have been a real Olympics medal prospect. Alas she didn’t).

‘Ankur sets a realistic target’, is what the TOI says (click here for article), and that’s about right. Semi-finals will be about par for course, and yes, there will be expectations in him, for the next Asiad in two years’ time.

FACT BOX

Clocked 57.14 in 100m butterfly in Doha Asian Games
Clocked 24.70 in 50m freestyle in Doha Asian Games
Qualified for Beijing with timings of 53.68 (100m butterfly) and 22.99 (50m freestyle)

And while 53.68s is good indeed …. The world record in the 100m Butterfly is 50.40s by Ian Crocker (click here for article)

Though, in two years’ time in Guangzhou, an Asiad medal should not be too high an expectation from Mr. Poseria, no?