India’s Sports Week: Mohun Bagan on NASDAQ, Indians soar in NBA and American league

Leander Paes takes a trip down memory lane as Mary Kom looks forward to her golden dream in Tokyo. Top stories in a week that was.

By Utathya Nag ·

With just under a year left for the Tokyo Olympics, Indian boxing ace MC Mary Kom is raring to go but this was Mohun Bagan’s week even as Indians made their presence felt in the NBA.

The London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist, who has already qualified for Tokyo, admits that it’s been a challenging few months especially due to the COVID-19 situation making sparring practice difficult.

The 37-year-old, however, is doing everything possible to stay fit for another medal run - this time gold - at the Games.

“Boxing is my passion and winning the gold is my utmost priority and dream. So, my focus remains the same and I am not distracted by any other factors.

“I do my daily training and workout. It will be part of my preparation for the Olympics,” she told Times of India.

Hima Das focussed on Olympic qualification

Meanwhile, Indian sprinter Hima Das is making qualification to the Tokyo Olympics her singular focus.

Having endured an injury-ravaged year, the IAAF World U20 Championships 2018 gold medallist has started easing onto the track but participation at events has been the challenge due to the pandemic.

The Dhing Express, however, isn’t too concerned with which event she gets to run in, it’s only qualification to Tokyo which matters. As for Hima Das’ schedule, she’s trusting the federation and her coach.

“I have reached here only because of the (efforts of the) federation and coach. So give me whichever event, I just want to run and qualify for the Olympics,” Hima said.

Indian women living their basketball dreams

In a week which saw Punjab’s Princepal Singh make headlines after joining the NBA G-League, there was more good news waiting for Indian basketball fans.

Harsimran Kaur and Ann Mary Zachariah, alumni of the NBA Academy India Women's Camp, announced that they will be joining US schools to play basketball.

Hailing from Punjab, Harsimran Kaur has committed to the University of San Diego for its class of 2021.

Delhi’s Ann Mary Zachariah, meanwhile, is set to join Kansas State Life Prep Academy in Wichita.

The two will be following in the footsteps of Sanjana Ramesh, Vaishnavi Yadav and Khushi Dongre, who emerged from NBA’s developmental camps for women in India and went on to play college basketball in the US.

Olympics social watch from India

Mohun Bagan takes over Times Square

Indian football fans were due for a nice surprise on July 29 as the iconic NASDAQ billboards in New York’s Times Square featured India’s legacy club Mohun Bagan.

The digital banner was part of the Mohun Bagan Day celebrations, commemorating the Indian club’s historic IFA Shield victory in 1911.

The team featuring 11 Indians beat East Yorkshire Regiment 2-1 in the final to become the first Indian club to win a major football tournament at a time when India was under British rule.

Such was the impact of the iconic green and maroon colours flashing across Times Square that even FIFA took notice.

Leander Paes relives Olympic moments

With the 24-year anniversary of his Olympic bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games fast approaching, Olympics have been on Indian tennis star Leander Paes’ mind and this week, the 47-year-old took a trip down memory lane.

He shared an image from the opening ceremony of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, which also happened to be his maiden trip to the Games.

The Indian tennis star is also due to take viewers through his 1996 medal-winning experience on Great Olympic Moments - a special series by the Olympic Channel.

Snapshot

For wrestler Pooja Dhanda, the countdown to the Tokyo Olympics is very much on (Photo: Pooja Dhanda/ Twitter)

Best of the week from the Olympic Channel

Like every week, Olympic Channel had some special offerings for Indian fans in this one as well.

In an exclusive chat with the Olympic Channel, Indian athlete Anju Bobby George narrated how the legendary Mike Powell inspired her long jump bronze at the 2003 World Championships.

Milkha Singh may be best remembered for his fourth-place finish at the 1960 Olympics but India’s indomitable Flying Sikh was the architect of several other historic feats in Indian athletics. Here’s a reminder of some of his lesser talked-about accolades.