Chess may not be a spectator-friendly sport but has its own share of countless players & fan-followings ,who prefer the brain over the brawn, across the world. Its a game that has been dominated by Russians in the past decades. Its an immense joy to find an Indian sportsperson single handedly breaking the domination and ruling the chess world in circa 2008.
Since Anand became Grand Master in Chess in 1988 at the age of 18, he has performed in the topmost echelon of international chess for 20 years . In the process he picked up 5 Chess Oscars, 3 world championship titles & numerous other titles. No other Indian sportsperson has performed so consistently in the highest level of any international sport for two decades at a stretch.
Anand has already received the highest civilian award for a sportsperson from India , Padma Vibhushan (2007) as well as the highest sports award , the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award (1992). The Government of India will have to institute a completely new civilian award to honour outstanding achievers like Anand, who will never get a Bharat Ratna (highest civilian award in India) as sports persons are not eligible for this award.
Isn't it a shame that while outstanding achievements in literature & arts qualify for Bharat Ratna (apart from public service & scientific achievements), achievements in sports do not count?Till the time , a special award is created for Anand , we congratulate & bow to this exceptional genius for bringing glory to himself & a nation of 1 billion Indians .
Picture Source : Cristi Dorombach on flickr.