India won its first-ever gold medal in the lawn bowls as the women’s team crushed South Africa by 17-10 in the final. This is the first medal for India in a discipline other than weightlifting at Commonwealth Games 2022.

The women’s four team of Rupa Rani Tirkey, Lovely Choubey, Pinki, and Nayanmoni Saikia had a great start, racing away to an 8-2 lead in no time. But they squandered their lead to South Africa by End 11, trailing by 10-8. 

On the next two ends, they secured two points each to cut out the deficit and solidified their lead with three more points in the penultimate round. South Africa needed a minimum of six points to overturn the deficit, and five points to tie the game. But they couldn’t manage a single point and ended up losing the game by 17-10.

In the semi-finals against New Zealand, they were 6-1 down before making a strong comeback to reach the final.

The women quartet is led by Lovely Choubey, who also has a full-time job in Jharkhand Police. Choubey used to be a long jumper in her youth but a hip injury forced her to leave the sport. Rupa Rani Tirkey, who rolled the winning bowl in the semi-finals, is also from Jharkhand, and she works in the state department.

Pinki Singh is a PE teacher at DPS RK Puram, and she started playing this sport after her school instilled lawn bowling greens on the campus. Nayanmoni Saikia, meanwhile, always wanted to be a weightlifter but a series of injuries forced her to retire early.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the team on Twitter. He wrote, “Historic win in Birmingham! India is proud of Lovely Choubey, Pinki Singh, Nayanmoni Saikia and Rupa Rani Tirkey for bringing home the prestigious Gold in Lawn Bowls. The team has demonstrated great dexterity and their success will motivate many Indians towards Lawn Bowls.”

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah wrote, “Heartiest congratulations to #TeamIndia for bagging the historic Gold in Lawn Bowls at the Commonwealth games. Many more glorious moments to come for this team.”

Featured Image: Team India/Twitter