The Indian contingent for Commonwealth Games 2018, returned back to the nation to a heroes welcome. With 66 medals, the Gold Coast Games marked one of India’s best sporting outing across disciplines. While many athletes did win medals, but there are certain standout performers who, we think in years to come will bring more joy to Indian sports fans.
India’s rich medal haul includes 26 golds, 20 silver and 20 bronze which saw our contingent finish third in the overall medals tally behind hosts and sports powerhouse Australia and England. We stood ahead of such other CWG powerhouses Canada and New Zealand.
Standout Performers – A look at our past and present medals tally
By achieving/winning 66 medals India breached its medal tally from the 2014 Glasgow Games. Four years ago India had won 64 medals out of which – 15 were gold, 30 silver and 19 bronze. The highest medals for India at CWG were in New Delhi in 2010 when a massive 600-plus strong squad bagged 101 medals.
Talking about the gender-bender, overall the Indian men won 35 of the 66 medals, while women athletes clinched 28 and three were in mixed team events. When it comes to bifurcating the 26 gold medals 13 were bagged by men and 12 by women, and one was a mixed event. It was even in the silver medals as well, where men won nine, women ten and one was a mixed event. The men have a upper hand in bronze medals with 13 to their name and just six to the women athletes, one came from a mixed event.
Frankly speaking many of us don’t know where to begin the story of India’s successful campaign, but the fact remains that with 16 medals, shooting was the most profitable sports discipline followed by wrestling which gave us 12 medals. In fact, all the 12 members of the Indian wrestling team who were part of the Indian contingent returned with medals. But it does not end there. All the eight male boxers won medals as well, despite the early chaos before the Games.
A point to note down for the Indian sports fans here is that the medal winners were both debutants, young, old and seasoned. 15 year old Anish Bhanwala made the nation proud by becoming the youngest medal winners for India at CWG. Manu Bhaker (shooting women) and Mehuli Ghosh (shooting women), both 16, delivered a clinical performance. While at the other end of the age scale the medal winners included the like of Table Tennis legend Sharath Kamal (35), two time Olympic medallist, wrestler Sushil Kumar (34) and legendary boxer Mary Kom (35).
Here’s a list of standout performers in various sports discipline for India:
Standout Performers in Athletics – Neeraj Chopra (Gold in men’s javelin throw)
The former U-20 world champion made his Games debut and won his first medal and looks good for more in future. Shaping his skills in Europe under the watchful eyes of German trainer Uwe Hohn, Chopra showed sublime confidence in his first ever commonwealth games to pip the field by a distance.
Notable Standout performers: Seema Punia (silver, women’s discus), Navjeet Dhillon (bronze, women’s discus).
Standout Performers in Badminton – Saina Nehwal (Gold in women’s singles)
Indian sports icon Saina Nehwal produced her ‘A’ games in all the matches she participated in, be it the team events or singles, Saina showed the world that she still has a lot left in her. In fact, battling from injuries, the new-look Saina looks leaner-meaner, tough to beat at net, and is much fitter. Credit should be given to her physio for this.
Notable standout performers – Kidambi Srikanth (Silver in Men’s singles)
Standout Performers in Boxing – Vikas Krishan (Gold in men’s 75kg)
Making a comeback after a brief bout of illness and injury struggle, the Indian southpaw went from strength to strength and won all his bouts convincingly. But, insider news doing the rounds is that Vikas now wants to give up the three round boxing matches and is now thinking of going pro.
Other Notable performers: MC Mary Kom (Gold in women’s 45-48kg)
Standout Performers in Shooting Tejaswini Sawant (Gold in women’s 50m rifle prone)
It has been a long time since former world champion and veteran shooter Tejaswini Sawant grabbed headlines. As of now she may be competing with rivals 10 to 15 years younger, but she has made up her mind to keep going till the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Other notable performers: Heena Sidhu (Gold in women’s 25m pistol), Manu Bhaker (Gold in women’s 10m air pistol) and Anish Bhanwala (Gold in men’s 25m rapid fire pistol).
Standout Performers in Table Tennis – Manika Batra (Gold in women’s singles)
Manika Batra is the latest sporting sensation of India after CWG 2018. In the women’s singles her first match was against World No. 4 and she rattled her opposition with ease. She was up against another Singaporean in the final, but Manika stood her ground to become the first women athlete from India to win a singles Gold at CWG.
Other notable standout performers – Achanta Sharath Kamal (Bronze in men’s singles)
Standout performers in Weightlifting – Mirabai Chanu (Gold in women’s 48kg)
It was Mirabai who kick started India’s gold rush at the Commonwealth Games 2018. Mirabai Chanu set the first Games record at the Gold Coast Games and got a special award from the official timekeepers – a sparkling new watch. This began an incredible Indian journey at the Games for the Indian lifters at the Carrara Sports Arena.
Other Notable standout performers – Sanjita Chanu (Gold In women’s 53 kg)
Standout Performers in Wrestling – Rahul Aware (Gold in men’s freestyle 57kg)
Wrestler Rahul Balasaheb Aware gave India its 13th gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Aware defeated Canada’s Steven Takahashi in men’s Freestyle 57kg wrestling final to claim the top honours. Aware is an Asian Wrestling Championship bronze medallist. He has also won gold medal at 2011 Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in Melbourne. This was the first CWG medal of his career.
Other notable performers: Vinesh Phogat (gold, women’s freestyle 50kg)
Standout Performers – The hits and misses – KreedOn Opines
The two racquet sports of Table Tennis and badminton accounted for five gold, five silver and four bronze. While everyone did expect our shuttlers with the likes of PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth to perform well, it was a pleasant surprise to what our our paddlers also achieved.
To count the misses the real disappointment were the two hockey squads. At least a podium finish was predicted by both men and women’s team, but both finished fourth. There is scope and need for introspection though, especially in hockey where the men’s and women’s teams finished fourth, as they prepare for the Asian Games – a much tougher competition in some disciplines.
Off the field as well the reputation took a beating as AV Rakesh Babu and KT Irfan were sent packing from the Games village for violation of the ‘no needles’ policy after needles were found in their rooms.
Luckily for the two athletes they have four months until the Asian Games to fix their flaws.
Just to let you know India’s position in the list of countries most guilty of doping violations is the same position in the CWG medals tally – third. This needs to be sorted out by sports authorities with utmost seriousness.
The vital thing now is to build upon the gains our athletes have provided so that there can be another successful run at Asian Games in Jakarta. The overall standards higher in the Asian Games with the likes of China, Japan, the two Koreas, Thailand and Indonesia also in fray. But the Indian contingent at Gold Coast Games has given us a good indication of a strong show at Jakarta. Even if we get close to the Gold haul achieved at CWG 2018 would be an optimistic sign for the 2020 Tokyo Games.