Sporting legends walk down memory lane

Four stalwarts — Lothar Matthaus, Michael Johnson, Viswanathan Anand and Adam Gilchrist — shared their views on various aspects of their sporting journey, picking their best moments and their favourites from other disciplines.

Former World chess champion Vishwanathan Anand, former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist, American sprinter Michael Johnson and World Cup winning captain Germany's Lothar Matthaus.   -  PTI

Four legends under the same roof! It was a delightful trip down memory lane as Lothar Matthaus, Michael Johnson, Viswanathan Anand and Adam Gilchrist came together under the banner of Royal Stag Barrel Select Perfect Strokes — a platform aimed at inspiring people by bringing together eminent personalities to keep perfecting every moment in each of their stellar careers.

The four stalwarts shared their views on various aspects of their sporting journey —picking their best moments and their favourites from other disciplines.

Roger Federer, Usain Bolt and Lewis Hamilton emerged the favourites of Anand, Matthaus, Gilcrist and Johnson as they interacted with a select group of journalists here on Wednesday.

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Matthaus remembered the World Cup win in 1990 as the crowning moment of his career. “It certainly was the highlight of my career. I can never forget that tournament as we gave out best on the field. The respect among the players was incredible,” said Matthaus, who admires F1 star Hamilton for his “professionalism.”

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Chess great Anand chose his 2000 World Championship win as his best. “It was a knockout format and it was special.” He also pointed out the win against Vladimir Kramnik at Bonn in 2008 as memorable. Kramnik was the only player to beat Garry Kasporav in a World Championship match. “It went magically,” noted Anand.

Johnson admitted “there is never a perfect race. I never had one. I can still point out how I could have been better in some of my big wins. To me, Bolt was an amazing athlete to watch. He did personify perfection and achieved something very difficult to do. To repeat one Olympic win is tough. He did it thrice. Outside my sport, I think Federer was the best.”

For Gilchrist, it was not difficult to pick the next best in is trade. “MS Dhoni,” he remarked. “The way he has played in every role – wicketkeeper, batsman, captain – he is a brand by himself. He has had amazing success and shows amazing humility.”

Gilchrist picked the World Cup final in 2007 as his special moment when he scored 149 in a rain-hit match, an innings that helped Australia claim the crown. “I was average until the final. Nervous too. You don’t always get to do things perfectly. It was almost perfect that day,” he recalled.

For his all-time favourite outside cricket, Gilchrist picked Usain Bolt. “To do what he did for three Olympics in a row is brilliant. He personifies perfection.”

Gilchrist expectedly backed Australia to dominate the forthcoming Ashes series. “It should be evenly fought but Australia does start favourite because of its bowing unit. Fitness and injuries would be a concern for both the teams.”

Anand not a part of Candidates World Championship

Chess great Viswanathan Anand is set to experiment. For the first time in 12 years, he does not figure in the Candidates World Championship events and that gives him an opportunity to re-asses his approach.

“I will not be participating in the Candidates World Championship events. But I will focus on a lot of Open events . It is tough to keep the motivation level up without the World Championships but then I have been thinking of experimenting a few things. This (opportunity) will give me time to do that. I am looking for a change in my style a little bit. In fact I might try to experiment a lot,” Anand said here on Thursday.

The organisers had granted the wild card for the event to Kramnik.