Argentine World Cup winner Diego Maradona smokes a cigar in the waters off Havana, Cuba. File photo: REUTERS/ALFREDO TEDESCHI
Argentine World Cup winner Diego Maradona smokes a cigar in the waters off Havana, Cuba. File photo: REUTERS/ALFREDO TEDESCHI

Bengaluru — On April 8 1996, Coventry City defender David Busst is carried off after breaking his right leg in the second minute of a Premier League match after a collision with Manchester United full back Denis Irwin and forward Brian McClair.  

Busst needed three hours of surgery for an open fracture of the right tibia, an injury that left his bone sticking out of the flesh, and was told he would be out for at least a year.

However, he developed an infection, caused by a strain of bacteria resistant to antibiotics used to treat ordinary infections, and ended his professional career seven months later, after 26 operations.

On April 8 2000, Argentine World Cup winner Diego Maradona smokes a cigar in the waters off Havana, Cuba. He had courted controversy at the start of the year when he punched at reporters with “the hand of reason” because they were constantly tailing him during his drug-rehabilitation stay on the island.

“When they don’t respect me, I don’t have to respect them,” said Maradona, who attributed an infamous handball goal against England in the 1986 World Cup to “the hand of God”.

On April 8 2003 in basketball, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers scores in the fourth quarter of their 108-99 home win over the Dallas Mavericks — handing the visitors their 25th successive defeat in Los Angeles.

The Lakers won 11 of their final 13 games to finish fifth in the Western Conference, two places behind the Mavericks.

In the playoffs, they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in the opening round before losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the conference semifinals. The Mavericks reached the Western Conference finals, where they were defeated by the eventual NBA champion Spurs.

On April 8 2007, Australia’s wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist celebrates with teammates Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds after stumping England’s Andrew Flintoff in their World Cup Super Eights match.

Gilchrist went on to play a vital role in helping Australia capture their fourth World Cup crown and third in succession, smashing 149 off 104 balls in the final against Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka later questioned Gilchrist’s use of a squash ball in his left glove in the final on the advice of his coach Bob Meuleman, who believed it would help him with his grip, but the Marylebone Cricket Club said he did not contravene the rules.

On April 8 2001, British boxer Prince Naseem Hamed appears to wipe away tears a day after being defeated by Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera in their bout for the vacant IBO featherweight title — his first and only defeat as a professional.

Hamed, who held the WBO, IBF and WBC titles at different stages in his career, returned to the ring the next year against Spain’s Manuel Calvo and won on points after an unconvincing display to claim the IBO title.

It would prove to be the final fight of Hamed’s 10-year career, as he finished with a 36-1 record.

On April 8 2001, Tiger Woods receives the traditional green jacket from former champion Vijay Singh of Fiji after winning the Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club.

Woods prevailed in an extraordinary final-round shoot-out to add the Masters title to the US Open, British Open and PGA Championship crowns he already held for a monopoly of golf’s most prized trophies — dubbed the “Tiger Slam”.

“To win four in succession, it’s hard to believe,” said Woods. “You have to have your game, peak at the right time, have some luck, get some breaks ... some of the golfing gods are looking down at me the right way.”

On April 8 2000, Ruby Walsh riding Papillon celebrates victory at the Grand National, the second year in succession that a trainer-jockey father-son combination from Ireland had won the race after Bobbyjo in 1999 for Tom and Paul Carberry.

“They’re wonderful days — it’s like the birth of a child,” the senior Walsh said. “I was very nervous before the race and on a double edge, that the horse would run a good race and you must remember Ruby.

“Blood is thicker than water and I was very nervous for him [Ruby]. He’s only 20 and I was hoping things would go well for him. It’s an added bonus when they win but an added pressure when they go out.”

On April 8 2001, Arsenal striker Thierry Henry challenges for a loose ball with Tottenham Hotspur defender Sol Campbell during the Gunners’ 2-1 victory in the FA Cup semifinal at Old Trafford.

Gary Doherty’s strike gave Spurs the lead but Arsenal hit back through Patrick Vieira, who headed in the equaliser while Campbell was off the field receiving treatment for an ankle injury.

Robert Pires’ goal put Arsenal in the final, where they were defeated 2-1 by Liverpool. Campbell joined Arsenal on a free transfer in the close-season, earning the wrath of Spurs fans.

Reuters