In the first part of our take on India’s medal contenders of Gold Coast Games 2018, we looked at the country’s most successful sports in the history of Commonwealth Games. We dug deeper into Shooting, Boxing, and Wrestling. In this edition, however, we will have a closer look at Athletics, Weightlifting, Badminton, Gymnastics, and a few other sports.

Track & Field Gold Coast Games 2018: 31 Indian Athletes sent for participation

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Can the 31 member Athletics give India moments to be proud off?

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has sent a 31-member contingent to the Gold Coast Games 2018. Despite being offered 37 berths, only 18 men and 13 women (31) will be sent to Australia. This year, the AFI selection committee selected athletes by their performance at the recently concluded Federation Cup. The tournament took place in Patiala from the 5-8 March. This process aimed to ensure that only the best of the lot represent the country at a competition as prestigious as the Commonwealth Games.

In the previous edition of the Games, Glasgow 2014, the Indian Track and Field contingent of 37 members only managed to secure three medals. (1xGold, 1x Silver, 1x Bronze). Will our athletes be able to secure more medals at Gold Coast 2018? Let’s find out:

Junior Champs set for CWG debut at Gold Coast Games 2018

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All eyes would be on Neeraj and Tejaswin as they lead the Indian contingent at the XXI Commonwealth Games.

All eyes are on the future stars of the Indian Athletics team who are all set to make their Commonwealth games debut. Junior World Champion Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and national record holder High Jumper Tejaswin Shankar have been named in the 31-member squad.

Neeraj Chopra has been in sublime form in the past two years and would look to bring his A-game to Gold Coast Games 2018 as well. In 2016, he won Gold at the IAAF World U20  Championships in Poland. He had also set world junior record. He had also won Gold at 2016 South Asian Games by equalling the Indian national record of 82.23m. Last year in Asian Athletics championships, Neeraj secured Gold with a throw of 85.23 meters.

19-year-old Tejaswin Shankar cannot seem to stop setting new records. He achieved his thus far personal best jump of 2.28m at the Big 12 Indoor Athletics Championships in Ames, Iowa. Through this jump, he also had a set new national record. In Patiala, he surpassed the Federation’s qualification mark of 2.25m by crossing the 2.28m bar once again. In the process, he bettered his past performance of 2.26m.

Having achieved so much glory in such a short span of time and such a young age, the young lad’s shoulders are burdened with much responsibility, and it will be interesting to see whether he will be able to live up to the expectations.

Field Events at Gold Coast Games 2018

A LEAP TO GLORY?

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Can Nayana James overcome the Commonwealth Jinx. (Source)

The jumpers team (long, high, and triple) consist of some promising names. Sreeshankar from the men’s and Neena Pinto and Nayana James from women’s team will be representing India in the upcoming CWG. Sreeshankar fell agonizingly short of AFI’s qualification mark of 8.00m at Federation Cup after registering his best jump of 7.99m. Yet, he was given a green flag for Gold Coast Games 2018.

On the other front, Nayana James from Kerala comfortably cleared the AFI-CWG Q.mark of 6.45m by jumping 6.51m. In 2017, James clinched the bronze medal at Asian Championships that took place in Bhubaneswar. Neena Pinto, fortunately, was also selected despite falling short of the qualification mark. She finished the competition off with the best jump of 6.28m.

Siddharth Yadav will join Tejaswin Shankar in the men’s high jump team in Australia. The 24-year-old Railways employee became only the third India to clear 2.25m, which was also the qualification mark. His qualification means that India is sending two of the strongest contenders for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

The Indian triple jump team only comprises of 2 athletes, namely Arpinder Singh and Rakesh Babu. Singh cleared the qualification mark of 16.60m by jumping 16.61m while Rakesh Babu, despite jumping only 16.31, still managed to place a berth in the squad. Bronze medallist at the previous CWG edition and a Gold medallist from the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, Arpinder Singh is expected to win another medal in this edition.

A TRUE TEST OF PHYSICAL PROWESS:

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This will be Seema Punia’s last Commonwealth appearance.

The Indian throwing squad also comprises of a few promising names. The onus will be on veteran Seema Punia and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon to fetch medals in the Discus Throw events. Participating in her 4th CWG, Seema Punia has never disappointed the country in the competition. In the previous three editions, she has secured two silvers and one bronze. The 34-year-old clinched the silver medal at the 2006 Melbourne and the 2014 Glasgow Games. At home in 2010, she had won the bronze medal. With a track record unmatched by only a few, Punia is likely to clinch yet another medal this year. The-23-year-old discus thrower from Punjab had won the bronze medal in the 2014 World Junior Championships. She would look to leave a long-lasting impression in the international arena by winning a medal in Australia.

Discus thrower Vikas, the sole gold medallist from Glasgow 2014, will be not be participating this year. Moreover, there will be no participation from the men’s side as all the participants failed miserably to cross the qualifying mark.

Tajinder Singh Pal Toor is the lone shot put thrower who will be representing India at Gold Coast Games 2018. He cleared the qualification mark of 20.20m with a throw of 20.24m. A couple of months back at the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships, Tajinder Singh clinched Silver. Gold medallist at the 57th National Open Athletics Championship, he would look to carry his excellent form to Gold Coast.

Can our Runners Accelerate to a podium finish

In the past five editions of the Commonwealth Games, the track and field team has only won a mere 20 medals. This list includes just three gold medals, seven silvers, and ten bronze medals. However, what’s more shocking is that the track team has only fetched six medals in the past 20 years. With promising talent and recent impressive performances, this particular team is likely to fetch more medals this year.

4X400M Relay Teams:

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Among all the contingent the Running team looks set for commonwealth glory once again.

If there is one event where we have done consistently well, it is in the 4x400m relays. Both, our men’s and women’s teams. The men’s team is going to comprise of Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Jeevan Karekoppa Suresh, Amoj Jacob, Kunhu Mohamed, Jithu Baby, Arokia Rajiv.

On the other hand, M R Poovamma, Sonia Baishy, Saritaben Laxmanbhai Gayakwad, Juana Murmu will form the women’s relay team. The Indian team clinched Gold in 2010 and  Silver in the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Weightlifting at Gold Coast Games 2018

15 Golds, 19 Silvers, and 18 Bronzes, Weightlifting has yielded the second best results for India in the past 20 years. The team consists of numerous former and present champions. Let’s have a look at the top three contenders:

1) SUKHEN DEY:

The 28-year-old weightlifter from Bengal is the defending champion in the men’s 56 kg category. He has won gold at Glasgow 2014 and at home in 2010 Dey clinched the silver medal in the same category.

2) SAIKHOM MIRABAI CHANU:

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Cam Mirabai continue her glorious form by clinching another CWG medal.

Hailing from Manipur, the 23-year-old is a gold medallist from the 2017 World Championships. In the previous edition of the CWG, Chanu bagged Silver. Both her medals came in the women’s 48 kg category. She was also awarded with the Padma Shri earlier this year.

3) SATHISH SIVALINGAM:

Participating in the men’s 77 kg category at the Gold Coast Games 2018 will be Satish Sivalingam from Tamil Nadu. The 25-year-old’s track record is no less as he had won Gold in the 2014 Glasgow Games.

The top three medals contenders sure look strong, but it will be vital for them to stay focussed and get the job done.

Badminton at Gold Coast Games 2018: Medals are expected from every player

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Can our shuttlers make it big at the 2018 CWG?

Badminton in India has grown exponentially. There is no doubting that. From just one marquee player in the form of Saina Nehwal a decade back to becoming a force to reckon with, Indian shuttlers have shown the world what they are capable of.  Though 13 medals in the past five editions might not speak highly of the team, but the present team’s performances surely speaks volumes of their capabilities.

P.V. SINDHU:

The 2012 Olympics silver medallist, P.V. Sindhu’s track record has been incredibly inspiring. In the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, she had won the bronze medal in the Women’s Singles category. In 2016, Sindhu won two medals in the South Asian Games. She clinched Gold in the Women’s team category and the silver in the Women’s Singles category. Last year at the 2017 World Championships, she bagged the silver in the Women’s Singles category.

With 3 Gold medals, 3 silvers, 9 bronze medals, PV Sindhu is India’s strongest contender of winning a medal this year.

VETERAN SAINA NEHWAL:

It is nearly impossible for any Indian to forget Saina Nehwal’s bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. The whole country had erupted in euphoria and joy and the memories of that day are still fresh in our minds. Since 2016, Saina Nehwal has been struggling with various injuries. In the 2016 Olympics, she crashed out in the 2nd round. The former no.1 is now back and is fitter than ever. It will be interesting to see whether she will be able to perform to the best of her ability.

Kidambi Srikanth – The man who’s finally arrived at the International arena

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Kidambi Srikanth had a dream run in 2017, winning almost all the titles he participated in. Will he break the CWG jinx? 

Kidambi Srikanth has taken the world of Badminton by storm in the past two years. He has won multiple Super Series titles and Grand Prix titles and his performance in the national jersey has been equally impressive. 2016 was the most successful year for Kidambi. At the Guwahati South Asian Games, he won golds in both, the Men’s Singles and the Men’s Team categories. The same year, he won the bronze medal in the Asia Team Championships. He reached his career-best ranking of World No.2 in December 2017 and is currently ranked 5th in the world. He is one of the players to watch out for in the whole contingent.

Gold Coast Games 2018: KreedOn Opines

Our medal prospects certainly look strong and venomous and despite the stakes being high, they are expected to perform to the best of their abilities and take the country to new heights, courtesy strict selection process. They are and will try their best to make the country proud. They will be going to the Australia with full guns blazing to make 1.3 billion people happy and proud. The onus is on them to ensure it happens, but let’s not forget that the onus is also onus to support them and cheer for them from wherever we are.

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Sports journalist working towards bringing unsung heroes of Indian sports into the limelight and helping them grab the attention and respect they deserve. A foodie and a sports fanatic since childhood, Shivansh would prefer watching an old match (from any sport) over a hit movie or series. Shivansh has spent his formative years in Tanzania before shifting to Pune for college

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