Two years ago on this day, with less than a week to go before the Rio Olympics, Scroll.in launched its sports section, called The Field. The focus, then as it is now, is to showcase Indian sport beyond cricket. That does not mean we ignore cricket, instead we just choose to add to the variety with non-stop coverage of Olympic sports as well. And as a famous commentator likes to say often, we have managed to convert a single into a double.
The Field has come a long way in these two years, from publishing five stories daily to, now, more than 40. There is still a long, long way to go, but for those who have followed us from the beginning and those who joined in later, we thought we should list some of the stories we really enjoyed writing and editing in these last 24 months.
So here is the best of The Field in the last two years. Hope you enjoy reading this list as much as we did compiling it:
- How a Kerala teacher took a tribal athlete from Wayanad to the Rio Olympics. The story of Gopi Thonakkal.
- Six ways to fix India’s flawed, deluded, meandering, impractical Olympic strategy. As Sakshi Malik’s bronze in Rio finally gave India something to cheer, a look at how the system in India desperately needs an Olympic overhaul.
- What does it take to win a Khel Ratna? You’re not alone, even the government does not seem to know. An explainer on the annual sports award that often comes with a controversy.
- ‘Para-athletes like me aren’t used to attention.,’ said Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik. What were the chances anything would really change?
- The hidden and appalling sexism Indian sportswomen face inside the stadium.
- Why Bengaluru produces India’s best swimmers: Great coaches and even greater weather, it turns out.
- If there was any debate about it, Virat Kohli sealed it with his brilliance against England at the Wankhede – he is the world’s best batsman.
- Before Abhinav Bindra and Devendra Jhajharia, there was Murlikant Petkar: the story of the man who won India’s first individual gold medal at the Olympics or Paralympics.
- Why did 70,000 fans flock to a town in Tamil Nadu to watch Indians motor-racing in the early 1970s? A feature story on Sholavaram.
- Numbers don’t lie: Kohli, Tendulkar are great but Viv Richards remains ODI cricket’s original legend.
- Dipa Karmakar lit the fire and inspired these four Indian gymnasts to set the bar higher. One of them, Aruna Budda Reddy, went on create history by winning a World Cup medal.
- One second at a time: Reliving Sunil Chhetri’s mesmerising wonder goal against Kyrgyzstan
- In a year where women’s cricket turned plenty of heads, we met with Jemimah Rodrigues a while before her inevitable India call-up and the youngster’s confidence and sharp cricket acumen made it evident that she was a strong India prospect.
- The story of Chess Gurukul: A nursery for India’s brightest prodigies. The academy is home to R Praggnanandhaa who went one to become the second youngest GM of all time in July 2018.
- PV Sindhu vs Nozomi Okuhara: When the irresistible Indian met the indomitable Japanese in an epic World Championship final.
- The most important lesson Roger Federer’s Wimbledon win in 2017 taught us had nothing to do with tennis.
- Being Ajnikya Rahane... the vice-captain who found himself on the bench for the first Test in South Africa.
- In a series of interviews on the path forward for Indian sport, we spoke to the one and only Abhinav Bindra. Hire experts rather than making one committee after another, he said. The complete series can be read here.
- Meet Rajneesh Gurbani: The pacer who engineered Vidarbha’s historic Ranji Trophy triumph.
- DD Sports, the sleeping giant of Indian sports broadcasting, is showing no signs of waking up.
- Understanding Saina Nehwal’s roller-coaster relationship with mentor Gopichand as she returned to Hyderabad.
- Read between the points and you’ll know why Roger Federer – who stunned the world with his comeback – and his backhand was the shot of 2017. A data story.
- Meet Abbas Moontasir, the Asian All-Star who rose from Mumbai’s basketball courts.
You can check out more stories from 2017 on our best of the year Twitter thread below.
- ‘I was mentally down and out’: Boxer Nikhat Zareen’s journey from her injury layoff to making a winning return to the sport.
- The growing legacy of Rahul Sharad Dravid: During his playing days, “The Wall” would often be under appreciated. Now, he is probably the most loved Indian cricketer ever.
- How pacers Nagarkoti, Mavi and Co spearheaded India’s title triumph at U-19 World Cup.
- Much before her rise as an athletics star, we had caught up with Hima Das. From a football player to athletics World Champion: A look at her incredible journey.
- How the internet is coaching Nihal Sarin, India’s latest chess prodigy.
- The real reason Haryana wanted its state-employed sportspersons to part with their pro fees.
- A profile of Harendra Singh: From struggling player to the coach who might be Indian hockey’s saviour.
- Data check: How India’s sportswomen have consistently raised the bar over the last two decades.
- How Hindi and Tamil are taking over cricket commentary in India.
- A Chennai auto-driver and his wife’s quest to keep their kids’ table tennis dreams alive.
If you think we missed out on any article, or if you liked (or hated) any of the following pieces, do let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or any of our social media accounts. And thank you, to our readers, for the continued support.