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In the Hands of God

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Multiple legendary sporting personalities passed away in 2020. Hello Vizag looks at their legacy in individual sports

DIEGO MARADONA, 60 Maradona’s death brought Argentina to a standstill and caused a wave of grief in his adopted home of Naples. He brought joy to the southern Italian city by leading unfashionable Napoli to two Serie A titles and the 1989 UEFA Cup. The passing of Maradona, who dragged Argentina to glory at the 1986 World Cup where he scored the ‘Goal of the Century’ against England — as well as the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal, led to three days of national mourning in his home country.

KOBE BRYANT, 41 Bryant was killed in January alongside his 13-year-old daughter in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles that also took the lives of seven other people. LA Lakers icon Bryant was a five-time NBA champion in a career that began in 1996 straight out of a high school. He was a two-time Olympic Gold medallist, helping spark the US squad to titles in 2008 and 2012.

PAOLO ROSSI, 64 Rossi is a national hero in Italy for firing the Azzurrito World Cup triumph in 1982. He finished the tournament as top scorer after scoring six goals, including a hat-trick in a 3-2 win over flamboyant Brazil, both goals against Poland in the semi-finals and the opener in the final win over Diego Maradona kisses FIFA World Cup trophy after Argentina beat West Germany 3-2 in final of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico AP West Germany. Pablito only played in Spain after returning from a ban for his part in the betting scandal.

BALBIR SINGH SR, 96 Three-time Olympic Gold medalwinning hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr died on May 25 after battling multiple health issues. His world record for most goals scored by an individual in the men’s hockey final of the Olympics still remains unbeaten). Balbir Singh, who captained India at the 1956 Olympic Games and was the manager of 1975 World Cup winning team.

CHUNI GOSWAMI, 82 Legendary Indian footballer Chuni Goswami, who captained the 1962 Asian Games Goldwinning team and finished runner-up at the Asian Cup in 1964, died after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was a striker during the golden generation of Indian football. In a celebrated career, Goswami played 50 international matches for the national team from 1956 to 1964, and spent his entire career playing for Mohun Bagan in club football. The iconic sportsperson, who also played first-class cricket for Bengal.

PK BANERJEE, 83 Pradip Kumar Banerjee was among those who put Indian football on an international stage through his feats, first as a record-breaking goalscorer and then as the most successful Indian coach. He was part of the 1962 Asian Games Gold medallist team and also led India in the 1960 Rome Olympics, in which he scored the equaliser against France to help his side secure a 1-1 draw against the European giants. He was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit in 2004. He was also the first Indian footballer to win the Arjuna Award — he won in 1961, the year the awards were instituted.

CHETAN CHAUHAN, 73 Former India cricketer and cabinet minister in Uttar Pradesh state Government Chetan Chauhan, passes away due to complications and multiple organ failure. He was Sunil Gavaskar’s long-time opening partner, and despit scoring 16 fifty plu scores in Test cricket, he finished with a zero in the centuries’ column in the format, despite coming close on many occasions: he got to 80 seven times, on two of those occasions getting to 93 and 97. He held a dubious record — most Test runs without scoring a century — for many years before being topped by Shane Warne.

DEAN JONES, 59 The Australian World Cup winner and prominent commentator died of a heart attack while in Mumbai to do IPL commentary. He collapsed, was rushed to the hospital and declared dead there.

TONY LEWIS, 78 Lewis was one of the men behind the Duckworth-LewisStern method used in weatheraffected limited-overs cricket matches. He devised the method alongside fellow mathematician Frank Duckworth.

GÉRARD HOULLIER, 73 The Frenchman put Liverpool back on track to domestic and European glory as manager from 1998 to 2004, winning a treble of trophies in 2001 and paving the way for the long-term recovery of a club he cherished.

ANGELA BUXTON, 85 Two-time Grand Slam champion Buxton, who had Jewish heritage and was refused entry to tennis clubs her entire career, was a doubles partner and lifelong friend of Althea Gibson, whose 1956 French Open title was the first Grand Slam singles triumph by a black American player. Buxton won the women’s doubles alongside Gibson at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 1956, the latter of which was the first All England Club title to be won by a British-Jewish player.

RAJINDER GOEL, 77 Rajinder Goel was born at the time when there was no shortage of good spinners in the country but only one was selected to play for India. And despite not being able to represent India in the longest format of the game, he keep taking wickets in the domestic cricket and went on to become the record wicket taker in Ranji Trophy (637). A record that still stands.

RAY CLEMENCE, 72 Former England and Liverpool goalkeeper Clemence was one of the finest stoppers of his generation, winning three European Cups and five First Division titles during 14 years.

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