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India’s performance in Commonwealth games (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper III)

What are Commonwealth games?
Commonwealth is an intergovernmental organization of 53-member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire. Commonwealth countries span Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific and are diverse—they are amongst the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries. Thirty-one of Commonwealth members are classified as small states—countries with a population size of 1.5 million people or less. The headquarters of Commonwealth is located at London, the United Kingdom.

Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games, a multi-sport event, is held every four years; the 2010 Commonwealth Games were held in New Delhi, India, and the 2014 Commonwealth Games were held in Glasgow, Scotland. The 2018 Commonwealth Games were held at Gold Coast, Australia.

A summary of India’s overall performance at the Gold Coast games
India finished third in the medals tally at the Commonwealth Games 2018with 66 medals (26 Gold, 20 Silver and 20 Bronze). Only Australia with 198 medals and England with 136 were ahead.

India’s 26 Golds was also third, behind Australia (80) and England (45).

The list of India’s medal winners at the Gold Coast Games:

Gold (26)
Saina Nehwal clinched women’s singles gold in badminton.

Boxer Vikas Krishan wins gold in 75kg category at Commonwealth Games.

Manika Batra wins gold in table tennis women’s singles, becoming the first Indian woman to do so.

Vinesh Phogat wins gold in women’s wrestling freestyle 50 kg Nordic event.

Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian javelin thrower to claim a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

In the 52kg Boxing event Gaurav Solanki won gold.

In wrestling, Sumit Malik claimed the gold medal in the men’s freestyle 125 kg.

Sanjeev Rajput won gold in 50m Rifle 3 Position shooting event.

M.C. Mary Kom won 45-48 kg category boxing event, claiming gold in her debut Commonwealth Games.

Bajrang Punia won the gold medal in freestyle 65kg wrestling.

Tejaswini Sawant won the 50m rifle position event 15-year-old Anish Bhanwala bagged gold in men’s 25m rapid fire pistol.

In men’s freestyle 74kg wrestling, double Olympic-medallist Sushil Kumarwon gold.

Rahul Aware added another gold medal to India’s tally, winning in the Men’s Freestyle 57kg wrestling event.

In the double trap women shooting, India’s Shreyasi Singh won gold.

Shooter Heena Sidhu won gold in 25m pistol event to give India its 11th gold medal in the Games.

The Indian mixed team badminton claimed gold for the first time in the Games’ history.

In the 10m men’s air pistol event, India’s Jitu Rai won gold. This is his second Commonwealth gold.

In the women’s table tennis event, the Indian team won its first ever Commonwealth gold medal.

In 10m women’s air pistol, Manu Bhaker won gold and added sixth gold for India at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Weightlifter Punam Yadav became the third woman to win gold for India, coming out on top in the women’s 69 kg category at the CWG 2018.

Weightlifter Venkat Rahul Ragala became the fourth Indian to claim a gold medal in the men’s 85 kg category.

Weightlifter Satish Kumar Sivalingam won India’s third gold in the men’s 77kg category.

Weightlifter Sanjita Chanu landed India its second gold medal, winning the top spot in the women’s 53kg category.

Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu was the first gold medal winner for India, on the opening day, in the women’s 48 kg category.

Indian men’s table tennis team wins gold beating Nigeria 3-0.

Silver (20)
P.V. Sindhu picked up the women’s singles silver medal in badminton playing against Saina Nehwal.

Kidambi Srikanth settled for badminton silver.

Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Joshna Chinappa settle for silver in women’s doubles squash.

In mixed doubles squash, Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal claim silver.

Boxer Manish Kaushik won silver in the Men’s 60 kg category.

India’s Amit Panghal won silver after losing a very close bout in the Boxing Men’s 46-49kg Final.

Manika Batra and Mouma Das fought hard before going down against defending champions Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu to settle for a silver medal in the women’s doubles, a first ever for India in the Commonwealth Games.

Anjum Moudgil bagged silver in the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions event.

Wrestler Pooja Dhanda made a late push in the women’s 57kg final bout to win silver.

Wrestler Mausam Khatri failed to make use of his wealth of experience as he settled for a silver medal in men’s freestyle 97 kg event.

Seema Punia came up with a best effort of 60.41m in the women’s discus throw, which she did in her opening attempt to win her fourth successive CWG medal Mehuli Ghosh won silver in the 10m women’s air rifle event.

In the 105-category weightlifting for men, Pradeep Singh won the silver.

In 10m women’s air pistol, Heena Sidhu won the silver and added second silver for India at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Weightlifter P. Gururaja opened India’s medal account on the first competition day, claiming a silver in the men’s 56kg category.

Tejaswini Sawant won a silver medal in 50m prone finals in shooting.

Wrestler Babita Kumari won silver in 53kg event.

Bronze (20)
Manika Batra and G. Sathiyan claimed mixed doubles bronze in table tennis.

Sharath Kamal claimed bronze in table tennis Men’s Singles.

Harmeet Desai and Sanil Shankar Shetty bagged bronze in the men’s doubles Table Tennis competition.

Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy win bronze at women’s doubles badminton.

In wrestling, Somveer claims bronze in Men’s Freestyle 86 kg.

In wrestling, Sakshi Malik claimed bronze in the Women’s Freestyle 62 kg.

Naman Tanwar won bronze in the boxing Men’s 91 kg.

Manoj Kumar won bronze in the boxing Men’s 69 kg.

Hussamuddin Mohammed won bronze in the boxing Men’s 56 kg.

Divya Kakran won bronze medal in the women’s freestyle 68 kg by outplaying Bangladesh’s Sherin Sultana 4-0.

In the women’s discus throw, Navjeet Dhillon grabbed the bronze with her final throw of 57.43m.

In women’s freestyle 76kg wrestling event, Kiran bagged a bronze medal.

Delhi-born Ankur Mittal claimed the bronze in men’s double trap shooting event.

Om Mitharval won bronze in the 50m men’s pistol event and in the 10m men’s air pistol event.

India’s Apurvi Chandela won bronze in the 10m women’s air rifle event.

One more medal for weightlifting, Vikas Thakur added a shade of bronze to Indian weightlifters’ golden run at the Commonwealth Games, claiming the third position in the 94kg category by equalling his personal best.

Ravi Kumar settles for bronze in men’s 10m air rifle event at 21st Commonwealth Games.

Teenager Deepak Lather from Haryana became the youngest Indian weightlifter to claim a Commonwealth Games medal, clinching a bronze in the men’s 69kg category.

Sachin Chaudhary did the country proud by bagging a bronze medal in the men’s heavyweight category in para powerlifting of the XXI Commonwealth Games.

Comparison with 2014 performance
India’s combined 66 medals is its third best showing in the history of the Games. India’s best remains 101 in New Delhi (2010), followed by 69 in Manchester (2002)

India bettered its showing in Glasgow 2014, where we finished fifth overall, by just two medals. In Glasgow, India claimed 15 Gold, 30 Silver and 19 Bronze. India’s best Gold tally of 38 came at home in 2010.

What next?
India’s reputation took a beating when A.V. Rakesh Babu and K.T. Irfan were packed off from the Games for violation of the ‘no needle’ policy after needles were found in their rooms. This aberration must not go unaddressed against the backdrop of successes of other Indian athletes.

With the next Asian Games scheduled in August-September in Jakarta, Indonesia, India is expected to build on the gains from the Gold Coast. Based on the quality of recent performances, India could improve upon its 2014 tally of 11 gold, 10 silver and 36 bronze medals.

Considering the Asian standards of table tennis, badminton, shooting, wrestling, weightlifting and field events in athletics, it will be over-optimistic to expect a gold haul anywhere close to what the Indians managed from the Gold Coast. Chopra, Chanu, Sushil, the badminton players in singles, besides select shooters, will hope to do well. But India will certainly try to register a better show in hockey where the men’s team will defend its Asian Games title, and automatically qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Till then, the CWG has held a mirror up to Indian sport and found a refreshing reflection.

(Adapted from The Hindu)

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