Commonwealth Games 2018: India aim to better Glasgow show in Gold Coast
While the big claims of Indian sportspersons and administrators about medals ahead of multi-sport events like Asian Games and Olympics usually fall flat, those made ahead of Commonwealth Games can, however, look a tad realistic. It is because the competition at Commonwealth Games is not as strong as Asian Games or Olympics. (Commonwealth Games 2018: Full schedule of Indians in Gold Coast)
With the opening ceremony of the XXI Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast just a day away, it was time to ask India’s Chef de Mission, Vikram Singh Sisodia, about India’s chances.
“The target is to get more than 64 medals we won in Glasgow. Ideally, we would love to match our best performance ever – the 101 medals we won in Delhi in2010 – but crossing the 100-medal mark looks a bit difficult,” said Sisodia on Tuesday.
Despite the needless distractions over needles and anti-doping tests, accommodation in Games Village and various other facilities, there is still scope for optimism.
Since 1990, India’s performance chart at the Commonwealth Games has resembled an electro-cardiogram output of a person suffering from myocardial infraction – coming out in peaks and valleys. The roller-coaster ride has seen India’s tally jump to 32 medals in 1990 and fall back to 24 and 25 in the next two editions. Another spurt saw the count jump to 69 in Manchester in 2002 before falling to 49 four years later in Melbourne. In 2010, the Indians came up with their best performance at home in New Delhi, crossing 100 medals and finishing second behind Australia. The tally reduced to 64 in Glasgow.
So as per this, India should be able to improve upon their Glasgow performance and get closer to their New Delhi count.
Another reason for this optimism is the new crop of talented shooters that have performed admirably in recent ISSF World Cups. If the shooters manage to hit the bull’s eye, India could expect a good medal count. With the sport almost set to be dropped for Birmingham in 2022, the Indian shooters, a mixture of young and senior competitors, have all the reasons to put up their best performance.
While shooters are expected to bag a major chunk of medals, India have high hopes from badminton, boxing, wrestling, weightlifting, men’s and women’s hockey, squash and table tennis.
Rio Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu and London bronze medallist Saina Nehwal will lead the charge in women’s singles while World No. 2 Srikanth Kidambi and HS Prannoy look favourites for gold despite the presence of old warhorse Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia. Sindhu and Srikanth were given the top billing on Tuesday.
In boxing, India’s hopes rest on MC Mary Kom, Pinki Jhangra, Sarita Devi in women’s section while Manoj Kumar and Vikas Krishan would be favourites in men’s section.
Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu looks certain to win a medal in women’s 48 kg while in wrestling, all hopes rest on double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and Bajrang in men’s section whereas Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Babita Kumari carry the hopes in women’s section.
So, it is likely that some very happy faces will leave Australian shores when Gold Coast 2018 comes to an end on April 15.