● Canadian cross-country skier Brian McKeever might have only 10 per cent vision but he will represent his country at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, later this month. Achieving this long-cherished dream will also ensure him a place in the record books. McKeever, who suffers from Stargardt’s disease since his late teens, has already won seven medals at previous Paralympic games, alongside his older brother Robin who acts as his guide. At the Olympics, however, McKeever can’t use a guide. But then he is such a good skier that his Canadian team-mates often forget that he is disabled! Way to go, McKeever.
● Many tennis players retire at the age at which Leander Paes won his 11th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last month. But the mixed doubles winner has no such plans. With the Australian Open title bringing him on par with Mahesh Bhupati’s count of Grand Slam titles, Paes is looking forward to his sixth Olympics and winning at least five or six more Grand Slam titles. But then he is the protégé of the evergreen Martina Navratilova who finally retired from tennis when she was about 50 years of age! Navratilova won her last Grand Slam — Paes was her partner — in 2003, when she was more than 45 years old.
● According to the FIFA rankings released last Wednesday, the Indian football team is now 130th in the world. India gained four places despite not playing any international match in either December or January. The last match the team played was the Nehru Cup final last August, in which they successfully defended their title against Syria. We are placed above Turkmenistan and below Singapore in the Asian list.
● Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh and Indian Open champion C. Muniyappa will lead the home challenge in the Avantha Masters golf tournament that will be held from February 11 to 14 in New Delhi. The foreign line-up includes Chinese star Liang Wen-chong, Thai duo Thaworn Wiratchant and Chapchai Nirat, Marcus Both of Australia and Filipino Angelo Que. Singh is hoping that his new-born baby will bring him some extra luck!
You can’t get through this week without…
● …Checking out the second cricket Test match between South Africa and India at the Eden Gardens that will be held from February 14 till 18. Not a bad way of ringing in Valentine’s Day for those whose first love is cricket! If India wants to retain its spot as top Test team, it is vital that it wins the two-test series.