Yearender 2012: Asia delights in Olympic success but big names flop

Olympics

Ulsan Hyundai became the third K-League club in four years to win the Asian Champions League, going unbeaten through the continent's top club competition and clinching the title with a 3-0 win over Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia.

While Ulsan's triumph was a welcome turnaround after the Korean match-fixing scandal of 2011, controversy continued to dog Asian football.

The governing Asian Football Confederation spent the year trying to rid themselves of suspended president Mohamed Bin Hammam, long after the Qatari was first banned by FIFA for alleged bribery in May 2011.

Indonesian clubs remained stuck in the middle of a dispute over governance of the sport in the nation and Paraguayan striker Diego Mendieta was left to die in a hospital waiting on four months' wages owed by his former club.

Pacquiao, arguably the greatest ever pound-for-pound boxer, stood at a crossroads at the end of 2012 after a stunning knockout at the hands of Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in December handed him a second defeat of the year.

The 34-year-old Filipino, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions, may fight again but it was a signal that his illustrious career may be drawing to a close.

LOW EXPECTATIONS

India have rarely thrived at the Olympics and a reminder of their low expectations came when their unprecedented six-medal haul in London was hailed as a triumph.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) undermined even that moderate success when, despite several warnings, it was kicked out of the Olympic family after allowing government interference in its elections.

The country's cricketers can usually be relied upon to raise sporting spirits in the world's second most populous nation but the much vaunted India team lurched from one defeat to another.

The retirement of batting greats Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman deepened the gloom and even Tendulkar, who became the first cricketer to hit 100 international centuries this year, laboured in the twilight of his career and quit one-dayers.

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