Commonwealth Games 2018: A look at India’s gold medal prospects in Gold Coast
Ahead of the Commonwealth Games 2018, Hindustan Times takes a look at the Indians who could win gold medals in their respective events in Gold Coast.other sports Updated: Apr 04, 2018 16:55 IST
As the stage looks set for the start of the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast, here’s a look at Indians that Hindustan Times thinks could bag gold for the country. India have sent a strong 220-strong contingent to the 21st edition of the Games. Hit by a needle controversy but in high spirits nonetheless, the jumbo Indian contingent would be aiming to make it all good with strong medal-winning performances. World champion weightlifter Mirabai Chanu will be in focus for her high medal-winning chances but India’s high-profile shuttlers and boxers will also be watched keenly when they open their campaigns on Thursday. (SCHEDULE)
MEN’S 74KG WRESTLING
Though he has been training in Georgia and nothing much is known about how that has been, his experience makes the two-time Olympic medallist the favourite for gold medal in his weight category. He has been bothered by injuries in the last few years but hopefully all that is in the past and Sushil should be able to perform at his best at Gold Coast.
WOMEN’S 62KG WRESTLING
A move up in the weight category should not be much of a problem for Rio Olympic bronze medallist in 58kg, who won silver in Glasgow four years ago. She is the Commonewealth champion in her weight category and has also done well in the Asian Championship last year
(WOMEN’S 45KG BOXING)
The multiple-time world champion and Asian champion and London Olympic bronze medallist makes her a favourite in her weight category. Though at 35, she is the oldest competitor in the fray, she has the extra motivation to go for gold as she could not participate in Glasgow and will be making her debut here. Won the Asian title last year.
(MEN’S 75KG BOXING)
Vikas won gold at Strandja Memorial Tournament in Bulgaria in February where he was adjudged best boxer. He is in good form to go all the way here. A quarterfinalist at Rio Olympics, the Haryana 26-year-old has consistently reached quarterfinals and pre-quarter finals in major tournaments like Olympics and World Championships.
(MEN’S 69KG BOXING)
Along with Mary Kom is India’s best bet for gold medal in boxing. The 31-year-old has performed consistently in World and Asian Championships since winning gold in New Delhi 2010, reaching pre-quarter finals in last year’s World Championships and last year’s Olympics.
(WOMEN’S 60KG BOXING)
The 2006 World Championship winner bagged silver medal at Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 bagged silver medal in the recent Asian Championship in Thailand. She is the first Indian woman boxer to turn professional, though she participates in amateur section too.
(WOMEN’S 48KG WEIGHTLIFTING)
Trained by the legendary woman weightlifter Kunjarani Devi, the 23-year-old pocked-sized dynamo is likely to win India’s first gold medal at Gold Coast as her event will be held on the first day of competition on April 5. She is the reigning World Champion in her category, bagged the title at Anahiem, USA, last year and also holds the Commonwealth record.
A bronze medal in the World Cup Series event in Melbourne last month puts her among the top contenders in women’s vault to take forward the legacy started by Dipa Karmakar in Glasgow. The youngster from Telangana will also be competing in floor exercises but looks a better prospect in vault
The silver and bronze medallist at New Delhi 2010, Ashish opened the international medal account for India. He didn’t compete at Glasgow but now is fit and raring to go. Had reached final in vault in World Cup Series event in Melbourne which was a timely boost for him.
Ranked third in the world in the lastest rankings, the Rio Olympics silver medallist will be the top seed and India’s best bet in women’s singles considering the recent indifferent results for her senior Saina Nehwal. Had a minor injury scare a fortnight back but seems to have recovered from that and is raring to go. Being the flagbearer of the contingent will give a boost before the competitions start.
Srikanth is ranked second in the world after capping a remarkable 2017 where he won four Superseries titles, the only Indian to achieve the feat. The 25-year-old won Indonesia, Australia, Denmark and French Open titles and came close to bag the No 1 ranking before pulling out of the China Open.
Kenya’s Julius Yego won gold in 2014 with 83.87m while Neeraj’s best this season is 85.94m. Neeraj has a good chance of winning gold. He has consistently crossed 80m since last year and is improving.
(10M AIR PISTOL SHOOTING)
Her superb show in Junior World Championship last month has elevated the 16-year-old from Haryana to the status of India’s best upcoming shooter. The competition is likely to be stronger, but Manu is unlikely to be affected by the pressure of participating in her first multi-sport event.
(MEN’S 10M AND 50M AIR PISTOL SHOOTING)
The defending champion in 10m air pistol, Jitu had reached the final in Rio Olympics. Considering the competition has not much changed since Glasgow, Jitu should retain his gold medal and should also add the 50m gold to his kitty, something he could not do in Glasgow.
(MEN’S 25M RAPID FIRE PISTOL SHOOTING)
Medals in the Junior World Championship and Junior World Cup in Sydney last month seems to have given him the confidence to go all out in Gold Coast. A good performance in the ISSF World Cup in Mexico proves the 15-year-old is ready to take on the seniors and make it count.
(10M AIR RIFLE SHOOTING)
Another member of the young shooting brigade from India, she won bronze medal in the World Cup in Mexico a few days back. She won two bronze medals in the World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2017 and has shown lot of improvement in recent times. With the competition in Gold Coast a lot weaker to the World Cup, Mehuli should prevail over the field with a good performance.
In all likelihood, the duo should be able to repeat the gold medal it won in Glasgow four years ago. Both are ranked in the top 20 in PSA World Rankings and has the experience and coordination that should help them defend their title.
“All the best to the athletes representing India at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games! Our sportspersons have worked tremendously hard and the Games will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase their talent. Every Indian is cheering for our contingent,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi.