Sport is all about respect and fair play. Winning or losing can often take a backseat in a game, because sporting spirit reigns supreme over everything.
Hungary's Laura Sarosi lost her crucial match against Karin Schnaase of Germany during the Badminton European Championship in France last week which was her last chance to qualify for Rio Olympics 2016. But it is not the result of the match that will be remembered; it is the tiny little incident that happened during the play.
Laura Sarosi is a name that not many are supposed to be familiar with outside of Hungary. But one small gesture by the 23-year-old got the crowd on its feet. She showed the world that you need your opponent because, without her, there is no game.
Important to respect fellow athletes
The World No. 69 was playing in La Roche Sur Yon in the Vendée region, France against fourth seed Karin from Germany. While this tournament officially crowns the best male and female players and pairs in Europe, there was much more at stake for Laura.
She needed to win to fulfill her Olympic dream and against the World No. 26, she was the complete underdog.
In the first set, the German's court shoe ruptured and she had no spare shoes in her bag. The rules don't allow a player to rush to the locker room to find a replacement pair.
It was a clear chance for Sarosi to exploit the situation and move to the next round as Schnaase had no other option but to retire from the match.
Instead, Sarosi made a name for herself with an act of selflessness that won't be forgotten anytime soon.
She went to her bag, took out her spare shoes and in a fair play act of the highest order, handed the shoes to the German so that she can finish the match.
The small matter of Rio 2016 qualification suddenly took a backseat as she offered Karin Schnaase her shoes with a smile. What was more heartwarming was that she believed this was the most natural thing to do in such a situation.
How cool is that?
The match resumed and Laura Sarosi lost in three sets and in doing so ended her Olympic dream. Schnaase will go on to represent Germany in August while Sarosi will head back home and try harder next time.
She has proved again that winning and losing are a part and parcel of the game. But we should never let our rivals or opponents down.
A huge internet campaign has been doing the rounds asking the International Olympic Committee to give her one of the free cards to the Olympic Games. Not because she lost a hard-fought encounter but because she let her opponent play the match in the most heartwarming way.
In Laura Sarosi, the world of badminton has one of the true ambassadors of the sportsman spirit.Published 04 May 2016, 12:32 IST