For three years and 11-and-a-half months, we tell ourselves we’re not a sporting nation. Outside of cricket, that is.
And then, for two weeks or so, while the Commonwealth Games are on, we are faster, higher, stronger than the best of the rest amongst countries that were once part of the
So what’s so different about these Games? In one word, confidence. It’s visible.
It is there in the two golds for athletics that have come 52 years after Milkha Singh raced to India’s first; in the way the hockey team put internal feuds behind them to give us dreams of a revival; in how Dipika Kumari, the teenage daughter of a Ranchi auto-driver, calmly shot to two golds in archery and in the way in which Gagan Narang walked away with four golds so far.
And it’s there in a once unknown man called Ashish Kumar who won a silver and a bronze in gymnastics and showed us that there’s a whole new world out there.
See special | Faster, stronger, higher | Indians to watch | Players of the day | Results | Wednesday’s spotlight
With two days to go, India have their highest ever gold haul in the Commonwealths. It’s a statistic made even more special because what we’ve seen here are glimpses of a sporting future that isn’t just about India’s glorious past.