Sportstar's all-time classics: Supermoms, historical victories and monstrous records

As the coronavirus pandemic forces a temporary halt on sporting events, Sportstar revisits classic matches across sports.

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce crosses the finish line to win the women’s 100m gold in the World championships in Doha in 2019.   -  REUTERS

There was a time the Twitterverse pleaded for 2019 to be over. Judging by how 2020 is going, it seems like we judged the year gone a little too harshly.

Besides not featuring a deadly pandemic, 2019 also saw some remarkable feats in the field of sport. From world records and maiden world titles to enviable domestic achievements, the year had it all.

If the lack of sporting action has left a void in your day, here's something to satiate that hunger - our pick of five classic sporting moments across sports that you should revisit.

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Sporting rainbow-colored hair, the Jamaican ran a scorching 10.71 seconds in the final, only 0.01 seconds slower than her personal best, to secure the gold at the World Championships last year.   -  AFP



Athletics: Supermom – Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce bags gold at the Doha World Championships

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is arguably the greatest female sprinter of all time, and she proved why in 2019. The 33-year-old sprint queen is one of the most celebrated athletes with two successive 100m Olympic titles to her name, four World Championship gold medals in the same event, and a total of six Olympic medals and 11 World Championship medals. Her latest exploits came at the Doha World Championships. 

Fraser-Pryce made a comeback to the track in May 2018, a year after giving birth to her son, but didn’t take long to settle in. She eased into her prime as she finished second to current Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson in the Jamaican trials, with both athletes running a world-leading time of 10.73 seconds. The run set her up beautifully for the World Championships. 

Sporting rainbow-colored hair, the Jamaican ran a scorching 10.71 seconds in the final, only 0.01 seconds slower than her personal best, to secure the gold. The win took her 100m World Championship titles to four, the most any sprinter has won. Usain Bolt had three. It also saw her become the oldest woman to win a 100m World Championship or Olympic title.

She followed it up with another gold in the 4x100m relay, thereby clearly announcing her return to the track.

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Ajax began its Champions League campaign with the betting odds miserably against them: 250-1. But the side went on a giant-killing spree that saw it dispatch the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus, and creditably draw twice with German giant Bayern Munich.   -  Getty Images

 

Football: The Miracle in Turin - Ajax sends Juventus tumbling out of the Champions League

Ajax’s sensational Champions League campaign continued as Erik ten Hang’s youthful team completed a 3-2 rout of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus to soar into the semifinal. And fittingly, the winning goal came from Ajax’s teenaged captain, Matthis de Ligt.

The win marked Ajax’s first last-four Champions League appearance since 1997, with Daley Blind’s father, Danny, being a crucial member of that squad. Ajax’s victory also saw Ronaldo miss out on a spot in the Champions League last-four for the first time since 2010.

Ajax began its Champions League campaign with the betting odds miserably against them: 250-1. But the side went on a giant-killing spree that saw it dispatch the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus, and creditably draw twice with German giant Bayern Munich.

But the fairytale came to a cruel end as Ajax suffered a cruel loss on away goals to Tottenham Hotspur in the semifinal. The young side lost out on a historic berth in the final, but scripted one of the most remarkable tales in Champions League football.

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Badminton: Third time lucky - P. V. Sindhu slays Nozomi Okuhara to reign supreme at World Championships

P. V. Sindhu versus Nozomi Okuhara has been a rivalry for the ages. In the 17 times the two have faced, the Indian shuttler has emerged victorious on nine occasions. But this was perhaps the sweetest win. 

Sindhu had lost the final to Okuhara in a grueling battle in 2017, but slew the ghosts of the past as she produced a masterclass to stomp to a dominating 21-7, 21-7 triumph. Sindhu had torn apart Okuhara’s in all of 38 minutes, making it the shortest final to decide the women’s world title.

What was even more remarkable was that Sindhu’s last three titles, the 2017 Korea Open, the 2018 BWF World Tour Finals and the World Championships, came at Okuhara’s expense.

Sindhu’s gold in Basel, her fifth medal at the World Championships, made her the joint highest medal winner in women’s singles in World Championships history, along with former Olympic champion Zhang Ning.

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Basketball: Kawhi Leonard the MVP - Toronto Raptors take home the NBA crown

Toronto Raptors was anything but the favourite going into the NBA finals against the mighty Golden State Warriors. Stephen Kerr’s Warriors had won three of the last four NBA titles, while it seemed nothing short of a miracle that Raptors got this far, for the Canadian team, the only one in the NBA, trailed against the Orlando Magic, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks on its way to the finals.

But the summit clash was a whole different ball game as Kawhi Leonard, who was named the Most Valuable Player, ensured the Raptors remained ahead throughout. Steph Curry was the Warrior’s trump card and was at his remarkable best, keeping his side in sniffing distance as the Warriors won the fifth game to trail 2-3. However, there was only so much Curry could do as the Raptors rode on Pascal Siakam and Leonard’s combined tally of 48 points to claim a 114-110 win, and with it, the coveted NBA title.

The Raptors thus became the first Canadian club side to win a major North American sports title since the Toronto Blue Jays won the Major League Baseball's World Series in 1993.

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Pawan couldn’t get his hands on the PKL crown last season, but took home the Best Raider title.   -  PKL

 

Kabaddi: King of Kabaddi - Pawan Kumar Sehrawat’s monstrous 39-point feat 

Pawan Kumar Sehrawat is one of the best all-rounders in the business. The muscular lad has defenders gasping for breath when he’s on a raid, and raiders running for cover when he’s defending. Having won the MVP award and finishing as the top-scorer last season, a lot was expected of the Hi-Flyer this time around and he delivered in style.

Sehrawat etched his name in Pro Kabaddi League history on October 2 as the Bengaluru Bulls star amassed a mammoth 39 points in a match against Haryana Steelers, the most points scored by a single player in the seven editions of the PKL. It was also the first time a player had scored all the raid points for his team.

And as fate would have it, Pardeep Narwal -- who held the previous record with 34 points in a game – was seated in the stands to helplessly witness Pawan walk away with the record.

The win saw the Bulls storm into the playoffs and subsequently make the final, where they eventually finished second-best to Bengal Warriors. Pawan couldn’t get his hands on the PKL crown, but took home the Best Raider title.

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