Both the neighboring states, Haryana and Punjab, jointly make up for just 2.87 percent of the country’s total area and 4.38 percent of the total population. But when it comes to sports, these two collectively occupy one-third of the share in the country’s sporting scenario.
In the Indian contingent for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games (July 23 to August 3), every third sportsperson is either from Haryana or Punjab.
Out of the 215-member strong Indian contingent, 47 are from Haryana, while 29 are from Punjab, jointly making it to 76.
India is competing in 14 disciplines, including para-sports. In total, there are 17 sports disciplines in the Glasgow Games. Haryana, with 47 players, contributes maximum share, state wise, and they are donning the tri-colour in eight disciplines.
Wrestling, which is Haryana’s state game, comprises of 11 Haryana players, including Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt and world championship medal winner Babita Kumari. The wrestling squad has a total of 14 members (men and women). In boxing, there are seven players from the state, including Olympic medallist Vijender Singh and Pinki Jangra. The boxing contingent has 11 members in all.
Apart from that, the 16-member women’s hockey squad comprises of seven girls from the state, including team skipper Ritu Rani of Shahbad. The men’s team skipper Sardar Singh is also from Haryana.
The other sports in which the state has a representation are judo (5), athletics (5), shooting (5), cycling (3) and parasports (3).
At the same time, 29 players in the Indian contingent belong to Punjab, and they are competing in nine disciplines. The men’s hockey squad has the maximum of seven players from the state. The shooting team also has seven Punjab marksmen, including Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and World number one Heena Sidhu.
The other disciplines in which Punjab is going to have a presence are judo (4), athletics (4), cycling (2), boxing (1), squash (1), wrestling (1) and para-sports (1).
“Punjab and Haryana have a long history of producing world class athletes, especially in hockey, wrestling, boxing and shooting. Both the states have always made major contribution to the Indian contingent for the multidiscipline games. But the only difference is that, if earlier Punjab used to have the lion’s share, now Haryana has taken the number one spot,” says Raja KS Sidhu, the deputy chief-de-mission of the Indian contingent for the Glasgow Games.