Short of experience but not lacking in confidence after some good performances in recent international events, Indian Lawn Bowls players are aiming to win a Commonwealth Games medal in their very first appearance in the multi-sporting event in New Delhi next month.
The competition will be tough with the Australians and the Malaysians favourites to win most of the medals but given the current form of Indian players and favourable surface, the 16-member squad would look to exploit the home advantage to open their medal account in the Games.
The Indian team which officially came into existence less than three years ago have come a long way since then, winning the Asian Lawn Bowls Championship in Shenzen, China in 2009 besides coming up with a commendable performance in the Asia-Pacific Championship, also last year.
The team under the guidance of Australian coach Richard Gale finished fourth in Ladies Triple event at the eight-nation meet in the capital this year in April.
Teenagers Tania Chowdhury and Farzana Khan, among the eight women in the squad, are India's best medal hopes in the triples and individual categories respectively.
While Tania won a silver in the Asia-Pacific Championship in August last year in Kuala Lumpur and finished fourth in Ladies triple section at the eight-nation event in April, Farzana came up with some good performance in the individual category in the eight-nation championship, narrowly losing her semi-final playoff to Malaysia's world number four Siti Ahmad.
Coach Gale, who has been working closely with the Indian team over the past 18 months, said the team has developed the required skills and confidence to make an impact in front of the home crowd.
"Team is training hard to bring India its first medal in the Commonwealth Games. We know we are short of experience given the likes of the Australians, New Zealanders and Malaysians but we are confident of performing well," he told PTI.
"Couple of exposure trips have also helped a team a lot in the recent times. We won the championship in Shenzen and also came up with a commendable show in the Asia-Pacific championship. We are ready to compete against a top-class field.
"The food supplements, weather conditions and the surface will surely work to our confidence. Our women's team is stronger than the men's team and overall we are hoping to win 2-3 medals," Gale said, exuding confidence.