Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CWG: India's chances at the Commonwealth Games

This year's Commonwealth Games are on home turf and India's expectations from the games would be very high, let's take a look at the India's medal prospects.

The Commonwealth Games bring together a congregation of nations that were once under the rule of the British Empire and they are also the second largest sports festival in the world after Olympics.

India in the past have performed well at the games, finishing fourth in the last two editions with 50 medals, including 22 golds at Melbourne (2006) and 69 medals at Manchester (2002).

Abhinav Bindra, Vijender Singh and Sushil Kumar won medals at the last Olympics and that made them the blue eyed boys of Indian sports but one has to also take into account that they can at best get us three gold medals.

In fact, shooting and weightlifting have been the two disciplines that have pushed up India's medals tally. India topped the shooting charts at Melbourne with a whopping 27 medals, 16 of them gold.

This year in shooting, there are 40 medals up for grabs and Indian shooters have performed well at the World Cups of various shooting disciplines, making them the contingent that will hopefully have the lion’s share of gold medals. India topped the shooting charts at Melbourne with a whopping 27 medals, 16 of them gold.

The Weightlifting fraternity in India has borne the brunt of doping scandals in the past and would be hoping that the demons don’t come back to haunt them again. Indian weightlifters came back with no medals from the Asian Championship but are sweating it out in the gym, determined to turn the tables around and win a few medals. Lifters like VS Rao and Ravi Kumar are top medal contenders. In the women's section, Geeta Rani and Yumnam Chanu are the best that India has.

As far as wrestling is concerned, India has one of the strongest pool of players with Sushil Kumar at the helm of it. India had a good run at the 2002 Manchester Games, winning three gold and three silver. A majority of new medals are likely to come from wrestling, it did not feature at Melbourne. This time, more than 21 gold medals will be at stake.

In table tennis, with China not around India has a good chance of winning a few medals. Sharath Kamal after winning the US Open will lead the Indian challenge at the Games. Subhajit Saha and others are also being pitted to win medals for India.

Players like Sania Mirza, Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri will be India's best bet at tennis in this years games.

India have had a good record in badminton and Gopi Chand is confident Saina Nehwal will win a gold medal.

Indian boxing coach GS Sandhu has put a very strong pool of boxers with players like Vijender Singh, Akhil Kumar, Nano Singh Thakcom and Ramesh Kumar raring to go.

Indian hockey players did not live up to the expectations in the last World Cup and would be eager to make amends at this years games although the women’s hockey team's confidence would be high on the back of their gold medal run in the last commonwealth games at Melbourne.

One of the major reasons why India has never been able to break into top three at the commonwealth games is the lack of prowess in athletics and swimming, the two disciplines which account for the maximum number of medals. At Melbourne games, India won only three medals in athletics out of 160 that were up for grabs.

The Delhi Commonwealth Games have been a blessing in disguise for Indian athletes. The government has pumped in a lot of money to train the athletes and world class sporting facilities are also coming up which will help Indian sports in the long run. India will have the home advantage and hopefully will to break into the top three this time.

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