Grandmaster Anand is 2007's top sportsman
In his triumph, he brought glory for India and made us proud, and now he is CNN-IBN's chosen one for Indian of the Year 2007 in the Sports category.
Over the years, many chess grandmasters have become celebrities, even heroes, in their homelands. But probably, one inspired enough of his countrymen to take up the game, so much so that the country became a world chess power. He is undoubtedly, Mr Consistent, Viswanathan Anand. Even after 20 years into the sport he made his own, the fire still burns for the current World Champion.
Anand's resume has nearly everything the world of chess has to offer. He is India's first Grandmaster who shocked the mighty Gary Kasparov. Anand won all of the world's regularly scheduled major tournaments at least once, and put the country's name firmly on the chess map. And who would forget his epic duel with Kasparov for the world title? Anand lost, but the world, and more so India, took notice.
However, the divisions in the sport robbed him of the recognition he deserved, even when he won the World Chess Championship in 2000. But the master of rapid chess blitzed away, going on to bag the Chess Oscar consecutively in 2003 and 2004, and clocking the elusive 2800 Elo rating. Mexico City was to be his chosen venue as he swept through the field to finally become the undisputed World Number 1 in April 2007. A proud nation gave him a hero’s welcome and now has chosen him as the sportsman of the year.
CNN-IBN jury member Geet Sethi explains why Viswanathan Anand made it to the top of the list: "He's been around for almost 20 years and he's gradually and slowly persevered and come to the zenith of his profession. He won the world title in 2007. He exemplifies superb sportsman spirit. He exemplifies the spirit of India. Without a doubt, Viswanathan Anand is my choice."
Source: CNN-IBN Live