Sporting Life

Doesn't matter where they are from, athletes believe they can win

You are free to sneer but the fastest swimmer in the world one day may come from Sri Lanka. You are allowed to snort but a future world chess champion might already be born in Incheon. It might take 30 years, but jeer at your own risk. After all, on Sunday, the footballing nation of Belgium won its first hockey World Cup in India, a land which once owned the game. New dynasties are rising while others collapse into the earth on which they play.

Brazil no longer rules football, the Finns don't dominate long-distance running and Australia's tennis halo has faded like an unfit player in the Melbourne sun. Between 1956 and 1975 they won 52 of the 80 men's singles Grand Slam titles. Now they have only the entitled Nick Kyrgios.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2018, with the headline 'Doesn't matter where they are from, athletes believe they can win'. Print Edition | Subscribe