Almost one-third of the overall medals India won at Commonwealth Games, since 1982, came in shooting. In the 2018 Gold Coast, India won a whopping 18 medals from shooting alone, which inflated their medal count to 66. Archery is another discipline where India always had a great record at this event. But neither of the sports was a part of the Commonwealth Games 2022, which ended with 22 gold, 16 silver, and 23 bronze.
In terms of the medal count, India didn’t better its performance from four years ago. But considering the absence of shooting – their most successful sport – it can be said India took a step forward, not backward. The medals in this edition came from a wide range of sports. In Lawn Bowls, both men’s and women’s teams clinched podium finish to give India their first medal in the event. Similarly, for the first time in close to five decades, India bagged medals in the triple jump.
The first gold of the competition came via Mirabai Chanu, who achieved a combined lift of 201 kg in the women’s 49-kg category. Her performance earned massive praise from the entire nation, and also from Hollywood superstar Chris Hemsworth, who responded to a fan’s comment asking Thor to give up his hammer.
On the final day of the event, both PV Sindhu and Lakshya Sen clinched gold in the women’s and men’s singles categories respectively. Sindhu has now completed the set, having previously won bronze and silver in this competition.
Much to everyone’s surprise, the women’s four, comprising Lovely Choubey, Rupa Rani Tirkey, Pinki, and Nayanmoni Saikia, won India their first-ever medal in lawn bowls, a discipline not many have heard of before their triumph.
In wrestling, Vinesh Phogat overcame the Tokyo Olympics disappointment to bag gold in the women’s 53 kg category. Olympics Bronze Medallist Bajrang Punia defended his title in 65 kg category, and Ravi Dahiya defeated Nigeria’s Ebikewenimo Welson in 57 kg freestyle wrestling to win his maiden CWG gold.
In boxing, Amit Panghal, Nikhat Zareen, and Nitu Ghanghas secured gold, while Paul Eldhose became the first Indian triple-jumper to win CWG gold.
On as many as 16 occasions, theIndian team failed to cross the one last hurdle and settled for the silver medal. Chief among them is theIndian women’s cricket team, who squandered the advantageous position in the dying moments of the game to surrender a gold to Australia.
In the same event where Paul Eldhose clinched gold, his statemate Abdulla Aboobacker finished with silver.
Avinash Sable became the first Indian to win silver in the men’s 300m steeplechase. His timing of 8.11.20 made him the first athlete of non- Kenyan origin to secure a podium finish in the event since 1994.
In the mixed event of Badminton, the Indian team had to settle for silver after losing out to top-seeded Malaysia. Just like the women’s cricket team, the men’s hockey team failed to outmaneuver Australia in the final.
India finished the event with 23 bronze. In the squash mixed doubles, the duo of Saurav Ghosal and Deepika Pallikal defeated Australia’s Donna Lobban and Cameron Pilley for the third-place match. Ghosal also bagged bronze in the men’s singles category.
The ace paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran bagged his maiden singles CWG medal and sixth overall by beating Paul Drinkhall 4-3. In weightlifting, Gururaja Poojary, Harjinder Kaur, Lovepreet Singh, and Gurdeep Singh bagged bronze in their respective categories. India also bagged five bronze in wrestling.
In the 60 kg weight category in Judo, Vijay Kumar Yadav finished third. Mohammed Hussamuddin, Rohit Tokas, and Jaismine too settled for bronze in their respective categories in boxing.
Lead Image: Saurav Ghosal