The Shining stars of Indian Sports in Commonwealth Games
The Shining stars of Indian Sports in Commonwealth Games
Suresh Kumar Lau
India participated for the first time in the Empire Games in London (1934), four years after the start of the Empire Games. Wrestler Anwar Rashid was the first Indian to win the medal (Bronze74 kg) in the Games.
India’s participation in the earlier Games was merely symbolic. India’s true operation in the British Empire and Commonwealth Games began from the Cardiff Games 1958. India appraised its first golden success in the Commonwealth Games through the prodigious feats of Milkha Singh who won the gold in the 440 yards run. Wrestler Lila Ram (100 kgs) and Lakshmikant Pande (74 kg) won the gold and silver respectively. Since then, the major portion of our success has been in wrestling, weightlifting and shooting. The war with China kept India out at Perth (Australia) in 1962. At Kingston (Jamaica) in 1966, Indian wrestlers -Bishamber Singh (57 kg), Mukhtiar Singh (68 kg) and Bhim Singh (100 kg) won three gold, four silver and three bronze medals.
At the Scottish city of Edinburgh in 1970, once again our wrestlers did us proud. 14 years old child Ved Prakash (lightweight category), a prodigy of Guru Hanuman of Delhi, was the youngest player to win a gold medal.. India won team championship with the help of nine medals (five gold, three silver and a bronze medals in wrestling). Mohinder Singh Gill (triple jump) S. Bhonsle (Boxing) and Mohal Lal Ghosh (Weightlifting) won bronze medals. At Christchurch in 1974, India maintained it sixth position in the medal tally with 4 gold, 8 silver and 3 bronze medals. In 1978 at Edmonton, again it was the matmen who did us proud, but with a reduced medal tally of 3 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals. Prakash Padukone(Men Singles Badminton),Edatthur Karunakaran (Weightlifting) won gold. In 1982 Brisbane, Australia, India bagged 5 gold, 8 silver and 3 bronze medals and retained its sixth position in medals tally for the fourth time in succession. At Victoria, Indian wrestlers failed to win a single gold but Shooting and Weightlifting squads won three gold each. Mansher Singh, Jaspal Rana along with Roopa Unikrishnan underlined the emergence of India as shooting powerhouse. B.Adisekhar and Veeraswamy kept up the dominance in weightlifting. With 6 gold, 11 silver and 7 bronze medals, India occupied 6th position in the medal tally.
In 1998, Kuala Lumpur was the first Asian country to host the Games. India won 7 gold, 10 silver and 8 bronze medals and occupied the seventh position in the medals table. The weightlifter won 3 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze medals, while shooter won 4 gold, 2 silver and a bronze medals. Jaspal Rana (Centre Fire Pistol), Roopa Unikrishnan (Sports rifle prone event), Ashok Pandit/ Jaspal Rana (Centre Fire Pistol Pairs) and Mansher Singh/Manavjit Singh (Trap pairs) won gold in shooting, while Arunugam Pandian (56 kg), Dharmaraj Wilson (56 kg) and Satish Rai (77 kg) were gold medal winner for India in weightlifting. Aparna Popat won a silver and Gopichand a bronze in badminton.
A total of 69 medals placed India fourth in the overall medal tally at the Commonwealth Games 2002 in Manchester, England. The women hockey team made history by winning the gold in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Mohammed Ali Qomar won a Boxing gold medal in lightweight category. Anju Bobby George became first Indian women athlete to win a medal in the game’s history when she bagged a bronze in the long jump event. She was followed by Neelam J. Singh who won a silver in the women’s discus throw. India made a spectacular haul of 27 medals in weightlifting at the Games . However, the failure of lifter K. Madaswamy and Sateesha Rai to clear the drug test tarnished India image. Shooter Jaspal Rana and Anjali Bhagwat won four gold medals each.
In the 18th Commonwealth Games at the Melbourne, 2006, India won 50 medals included 22 gold, 17 silver and 11 bronze medals. Shooting provided the biggest tally to the India medal haul with 16 gold, 7 silver and 4 bronze medals. Samaresh Jung, who won five gold, a silver and a bronze medals in pistol shooting competition and was given the ‘David Dixon Award’ after being adjudged the Best Athlete of the 18th Commonwealth Games, the first Indian ever to bag the honour in Games history. Gagan Narang won four gold medals. Rajyavardhan Rathore, Abhinav Bindra, Vijay Kumar and Tejaswini Sawant also won gold. The table tennis team created history by winning the team title and Achants Sharath Kamal, who became the first paddler from India to win an individual Commonwealth gold medal. The women weightlifters -Kunjarani Devi Renu Bala, Yumnam Chanu and Geeta Rani won gold. Akhil Kumar took the gold in 54 kg weight category in Boxing.
For the first time in the history of sport, Commonwealth Games were held in India from Oct. 3 -14, 2010. Opening and closing saw India’s conventional, contemporary culture and heritage being displayed in a very deep colourful presentation.
India has come a long way indeed touching three figures with 101 medals, the India’s best performance ever in the Games, when they bagged 38 gold, 27 silver and 36 bronze medals. The host nation finished second in the medal tally with 38 gold and emerged as a new sporting strength, superior of England, Canada and South Africa. The magnificent Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium became a theatre of thrill, when Krishna Poonia, Harwant Kaur and Seema Antil got the gold, silver and bronze medals respectively in women discuss throw in the CWG 2010.
The 20th Commonwealth Games 2014 held in Glasgow (the largest city in Scotland). India finished with 64 medals (15 gold, 30 silver, 19 bronze). Wrestling produced maximum gold medals. Dipa Karmakar was most astonishing champion in vault. In gymnastics, it was first yellow metal by an Indian woman at any global level. In badminton, P.Kashyap won gold after a gap of 32 years.
The 21st Commonwealth Games 2018 held in Gold Coast. Australia nation conducted the Commonwealth Games five times. Indian squad ended at a very happy note. India’s athletes make a mark in numerous sports at the Gold Coast; India won 66 medals (26 Gold, 20 Silver and 20 Bronze) in 15 sport disciplines. India came third in the medal tally behind host Australia and England at these Games. Two-time Olympic medallist wrestler Shushil Kumar (74 kg) who completed a hat – trick of Golds, India dominated in badminton, boxing, Table Tennis, Shooting, weightlifting and wrestling. In table tennis, India provided the surprises. Table Tennis team won a medal in all seven events. Monika Batra of Delhi won four medals, including two gold medals. Five time world champion, Asian Champion and Olympic medallist and mother of three kids M.C. Mary Kom, two- time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, World champion M.Chanu of Indian Railways, World Junior Javelin Champion Neeraj Chopra, teen’s sharp shooter Manu Bhaskar and Anish Bhanwala, produced magnificent performance. India’s best haul in badminton with two gold, three silvers and bronze medal. The women’s badminton singles final was an all- Indian affair and P Gopi Chand Academy between Sania Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu. Of the 26 gold medals won by India, Indian Railways attributed for ten (five each in weightlifting and wrestling). Sushil Kumar of Indian Railways became the first Indian to win three successive Commonwealth Games titles (New Delhi- 2010, Glasglow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018). No doubt, the 219 – member Indian Sport Stars put up a display of sporting show at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The Indian medal tally in the Commonwealth Games (1934-2018)