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Major sports heartbreaks in 2016

India Today logo India Today 29-12-2016

Every year there are underdogs in all kinds of sporting events who make headlines. While we witness the rise of new players as well as teams, there are also instances of downfalls and heartbreaks from stars who have done us proud for years.

These players not only have loyal fans following every move but they carry with them a lot of hope, especially when they are representing their country. Their failures break hearts and it all leaves a huge void in the lives of their ardent supporters.

As the curtains fall on 2016, let us reflect at some of the sporting moments of international athletes who were 'almost' there or were expected to be there but could not make it.

1. Yuvraj Singh's disappointing comeback

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Yuvraj's fans hoped that the Mohali match against Australia in March will be his comeback to the shortest format of the game. But that was not to be.

Yuvraj got ruled out of the World T20 after he hurt his ankle so badly and struggled to run between the wickets. The news not only broke hearts of his fans but also disappointed cricket lovers across the country. It also triggered talks about an end of his career.

It was also a disappointing World T20 for the host as the Indian cricket fans were left heartbroken after the home side's exit in the last-four stage.

2. Saina Nehwal's Olympic campaign

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All eyes were on Saina as the Indian contingent began their Olympic campaign. After her bronze at London Olympics, the shuttler went to Rio carrying a billion hopes and leading India's quest for medal.

However, the Olympian faced a shocking group-league exit after an inflammation turned out to be a serious injury for which she later had to undergo treatment in Hyderabad.

3. Roger Federer misses most of 2016 season due to knee injury

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Seven-times Wimbledon champion Roger Federer had a disappointing year as he withdrew from US Open, French Open and Olympics among other tournaments due to a knee injury.

He had to undergo treatment twice during his Wimbledon campaign this year. On his facebook page, a 'disappointed' Federer wrote, "Considering all options after consulting with my doctors and my team, I have made the very difficult decision to call an end to my 2016 season as I need more extensive rehabilitation following my knee surgery earlier this year."

4. Argentina missed out on Copa America again

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The football world was on its toes to watch the final of Copa America between Argentina and defending champions Chile. Not only because both the teams were in the final again, but because Argentina win would have sealed Barcelona striker Lionel Messi's legacy forever.

The heartbreak for Argentines turned into a shock when Messi announced his retirement from International football after failing to bring glory to the national team under his leadership in nine years. He, however, reversed his decision after appeals from fans worldwide.

5. KL Rahul's 199 in Chennai Test, so close yet so far

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The entire country was waiting for his maiden double century. All eyes were on KL Rahul, who led India's comeback, in the fifth Test against England taking place in Chennai.

Sadly, Rahul's dream remained unfulfilled as, in much to the shock of him, Captain Virat Kohli, the Chidambaram stadium and the nation, he got out on 199 on the third day.

6. Sania Mirza-Rohan Bopanna fail to get India a medal at Rio

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The fight was hard, agreed. But there was hope. And the fight for bronze was even more crucial for India as the medal kitty remained empty till then.

It turned out to be another disappointing day for Indians as Sania-Bopanna went down against Czech pair of Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek in the bronze medal playoff, stealing India of a medal.

7. Bengaluru FC lost AFC Cup final

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Indian football has not managed to create enough noise till now, despite ISL, except for this one instance.

The I-league club fished as runner-ups of AFC cup, creating history. Hearts sank a little when the club came so close to their first continental title.

Despite the loss in the final, Bengaluru became the first Indian club to qualify for the final of a continental tournament, getting the country to talk about Indian football, for a change.

8. Chapecoense FC don't live to play their dream game

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The players of Chapecoense, a Brazilian club, were headed to play the biggest game of their lives - the Copa Sudamericana final - when most of the team died in a tragic plane crash.

The South American tournament can be equated to Europa League. The world came together to pay tribute to the club that had reached the final for the first time in their history but could not live to play their dream game.

9. Abhinav Bindra returns medal-less from Rio

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Abhinav Bindra was referred to as the Indian Olympics hero, having won gold at the Beijing Olympics. He had also announced Rio to be the last Olympics of his life. India's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony, however, could not repeat his spectacular performance as, much to the country's disappointment, he ended fourth in the final of 10m air rifle event - missing out on a bronze medal by just 0.1 points.

10. Dipa Karmakar narrowly misses on Rio bronze

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Her Produnova vault won respect and billions of hearts. Everyone had its eyes and hopes set on her as the country watched her give the best-ever performance by an Indian gymnast.

Despite creating history, she sadly missed out on a medal by 0.15 points. Karmakar's final score of 15.066 gave her the fourth position in the final.

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