India achieved unprecedented success in athletics by bagging 12 medals, including two gold, but a dope flunk took away some of the sheen off the glorious feat in the Commonwealth Games which concluded in New Delhi on Thursday.
India's 12 medals which came from athletics in this Games was two more than the number it won in all the earlier editions. Just as the Indians basked in the glory of their track and field success, a rude shock hit them with woman 20km race walker Rani Yadav flunking a dope test for a banned steroid. She was provisionally suspended and 'B' sample called for confirmatory test.
Two other athletes, Nigerians Osayemi Oludamola and Samuel Okon tested positive for banned stimulant Methylhexaneamine. Women's 100m gold winner was stripped of her medal while Okon finished outside the medal bracket. Krishna Poonia created history by breaking India's 52-year-old Commonwealth Games gold medal jinx by winning the yellow metal in women's discus throw with the event also setting a record of first with the country sweeping all the medals.
Harwant Kaur and Seema Antil bagged silver and bronze respectively. Poonia also became the first Indian woman to bag a Commonwealth Games gold after 'Flying Sikh' Milkha Singh won men's 440 yards race in 1958 edition in Cardiff, Wales.
The women's 4X400m relay team of Manjeet Kaur, Sini Jose, Ashwini Akkunji and Mandeep Kaur added another gold in a memorable race, beating strong teams likes Nigeria and England. It was a 25-year-old girl from a poor family at a non-descript village at Nashik district in Maharashtra who opened the medal floodgates for India by winning a bronze in women's 10,000m race and she later said she took to athletics as she can run barefooted.
A farmer's son at Patiala, Harminder Singh then gave the country a surprise bronze in men's 20km walk race and that spurred the people of Delhi to come out in large numbers at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium much to the delight of embattled organisers.
The last three days of the athletics event at the showpiece Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was watched by near capacity crowd. The two medals raised visions of breaking India's 52-year-old medal jinx and woman long jumper Malliakkal Prajusha almost did it but to be pipped to the post by Canadian Alice Falaiya who won the event in the last jump, beating the Indian for gold by three centimeters.