India shines in Top 3 at CWG 2018

With 66 medals, India’s has definitely proven its mettle at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The female athletes shone bright, clinching metals in table tennis, shooting and weightlifting, and breaking world records.

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MC Mary Kom (Gold, 45-48kg boxing)
It was a special Games for MC Mary Kom, who not only led the Indian contingent at the closing ceremony of CWG on 15 April, but also won the gold medal that eluded her in the last Games. The 35-year-old five-time world champion has been pursuing the CWG gold since 2014, when boxing was first added to the program and she didn’t make the cut. Even now, after winning gold against Northern Ireland’s Kristina O’Hara in a 5-0 match, Kom isn’t thinking of retiring; she has her sights trained on her next goal: The Olympic gold.

India’s MC Mery Kom, right, punches to the body of Northern Ireland’s Kristina O’Hara during the Women’s 45-48kg gold medal boxing bout at the Oxenford Studios during the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, Saturday, April 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Mirabai Chanu (Gold, women’s 48-kg weightlifting)
After a terrific start to the Games by Mirabai Chanu, who won India her first gold in the women’s 48kg weightlifting on 5 April, other sportsmen of team India are following suit. The Manipuri powerhouse left the competition far behind by setting Games and Commonwealth records in the snatch, clean and jerk as well as the total. She registered 86 kg in the snatch and 110 kg in clean and jerk for a total of 196 kg.

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu competes in women’s 48kg Weightlifting final on April 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Chanu broke six records in each of her six attempts in the competition, obliterating the previous Games record of 175 kg set by Nigeria’s Augustina Nwaokolo at the 2010 edition by a considerable distance.

Despite a tough life, the 23-year-old from Imphal East district, has fought hard to achieve her current status. Inspired by India’s weightlifting icon Kunjarani Devi, who also hails from her native Manipur, Chanu took to the sport in 2007 and has not looked back since. Her win has prompted the people of Manipur to demand a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) post for her so she could stay in the state. Chanu is currently employed by the Indian Railways.

Congratulating the lifter, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said, “With her spectacular performance, Mirabai has done the country and Manipur proud. She is a true Manipuri.”

He has declared a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh for the lifter. Former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said all Indians are proud of her performance. “During my tenure, boxer M.C. Mary Kom was promoted to Superintendent of Police (SP). We had also constructed a sports complex in all districts… Being a poor state we gave sportspersons all we could with our limited resources.”

Sanjita Chanu (Gold, women’s 53kg weightlifting)
Sanjita Chanu landed India its second gold medal in the 53kg weightlifting category. Hailing from remote Umathel Kakching village in Kakching district of Manipur, Sanjita took to weightlifting in 2006. But her path was always a difficult one as the 24-year-old was dogged by poverty and lack of facilities throughout her growing-up years.

With five children to look after, Sanjita’s parents were hard pressed to meet all her expenses from their meagre resources. Her mother Leima said she used to work hard from morning to night to meet Sanjita’s needs and also encouraged her to push harder during training.

Sanjita Chanu

“Being a poor family, we could hardly afford nutritious food for the sports girl. Time and again she asked me whether she should give up her first love of sports. But I always replied that she should continue doing the exercises. I ran from pillar to post to provide her food and other items for her exercise,” Leima said.

She was the victim of official apathy as well. The Manipur government offered her the post of a police constable after she won gold in the women’s 48 kg category at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but the family regarded this as an affront. Leima said she exhorted Sanjita to reply to the perceived slight in the best way possible – winning more medals at domestic and international tournaments. And that’s what the Manipuri star, who won her second Commonwealth Games gold, did. Chief Minister N. Biren Singh has declared a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh for Sanjita as well.

Women’s Table Tennis (Gold, singles & doubles)

India’s Manika Batra during the women’s team match the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Thursday, April 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

The Indian women’s table tennis team was by far the best surprise since the Games began last week. Manika Batra shocked the Singapore team that has never lost in the Commonwealth Games since the sport was inducted in the program way back in 2002. The doubles pair of Mouma Das and Madhurima Patkar also won gold against defending champs of Singapore.

Manu Bhaker (Gold, women’s 10m air pistol)
Haryana’s 16-year-old Bhaker produced a spectacular performance, setting a new CWG record with a total of 240.9 points in the final round on 8 April. Bhaker was in fine form coming into her maiden CWG appearance, having won 10m air pistol and 10m air pistol mixed event gold medals at the ISSF World Cup earlier this year in Mexico.

“I am very happy… it is my first Commonwealth Games and I won with a qualification record also. The gap between me and the second competitor, that was a huge margin. So it was a pleasure winning this medal for India and I am very, very happy,” Bhaker said.
Bhaker’s father, Ram Kishan Bhaker said she has never returned empty-handed from any tournament. Delighted at the 16-year-old’s feat, the senior Bhaker said, “It is easy to boast after a win. But the truth is she never returned empty-handed from any tournament, whether it be the school or national level.”

Manu Bhaker with India’s Sidhu Heena and Australia’s Elena Galiabovitch during the women’s 10m Air Pistol final on Sunday, April 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

He added that he had always encouraged the youngster to enjoy her game and play freely without bothering about the outcome. “Before leaving for Gold Coast, I asked her to enjoy her game and not worry about the result. Winning and losing are part of any sport,” he said.

On being asked if he found Manu under any kind of pressure ahead of her debut in the Commonwealth Games on Sunday, Ram replied in the negative. “She never takes pressure and always plays freely. She just focusses on each shot rather than the whole game. Her main focus is on bettering her effort in each shot,” he said.

Opening up on his plans of celebrating the gold medal effort, Ram said: “There will be grand celebrations once Manu returns to her native in Goria, Haryana.”

Punam Yadav (Gold, women’s 69kg weightlifting)
Punam’s gold also meant that the country has five gold medals in an edition of the CWG for the first time. The 22-year-old lifted a total of 222 kg which included 100 kg in snatch and 122 kg in clean and jerk.

Punam Yadav won gold during the women’s 69kg weightlifting

Jitu Rai (Gold, men’s 10m air-pistol)
The Nepal-born shooter, who was a 50m pistol gold medallist at the 2014 Glasgow CWG, clinched gold for India on 9 April at the Games. He also made the final of the same event at the Rio Olympics where he finished eighth.

Neeraj Chopra (Gold, javelin throw)
He became the first Indian javelin thrower to claim a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal went up against each other winning a silver and gold, respectively

Other gold medallists include Saina Nehwal (women’s singles in badminton), Vikas Krishan (75kg boxing), Vinesh Phogat (women’s 50kg freestyle wrestling), Gaurav Solanki (52kg boxing) weightlifter Venkat Rahul Ragala (men’s 85 kg category), Satish Kumar Sivalingam (men’s 77kg category), Sumit Malik (men’s 125kg freestyle wrestling), Sanjeev Rajput (50m rifle 3 position), Bajrang Punia (men’s 65kg freestyle wrestling), Tejaswini Sawant (women’s 50m rifle), Sushil Kumar (74kg wrestling), Rahul Aware (57kg wrestling), Anish Bhanwala (men’s 25 metres rapid fire pistol), Shreyasi Singh (women’s double trap), Indian men’s table tennis team and the Indian mixed team badminton claimed gold for the first time in the Games’ history.

Heena Sidhu (Silver, women’s 10m air pistol)
Experienced Sidhu registered 234 points to make it 1-2 for India at the top of the podium. It was her first medal at the CWG. She made her CWG debut in 2010 New Delhi edition.
During the qualifications, Bhaker topped the qualification stage with a total of 388 points. Sidhu qualified at the second spot with 379 points.

Pardeep Singh (Silver, 105kg, men’s weightlifting)
On April 9, Pardeep Singh claimed a silver medal in the 105kg men’s weightlifting event. Singh, who started off as a teacher at a government school in his village in Punjab, started off uncertain but gained momentum in the second attempt.

Pardeep Singh won a silver medal in the 105kg men’s weightlifting event

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

Kidambi Srikanth (Silver, men’s singles badminton)
Srikanth conquered the top spot of the men’s BWF (Badminton World Federation) men’s singles rankings to be confirmed as World No 1. He was a member of the team that won the country’s first mixed team gold medal at the Games, but had to settle for silver in the singles.

Kidambi Srikanth was officially crowned World No 1

Other silver medallists include PV Sindhu (women’s singles, bandminton), Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Joshna Chinappa (women’s doubles, squash), Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal (mixed doubles, squash), Manish Kaushik (men’s 60kg boxing), Amit Panghal (men’s 46-49kg boxing), Manika Batra and Mouma Das (women’s doubles, table tennis), Anjum Moudgil (women’s 50m rifle 3 positions), Pooja Dhanda (women’s 57kg, wrestling), Mausam Khatri (men’s 97kg freestyle wrestling) Seema Punia (women’s discus throw), Babita Phogat (women’s 53kg freestyle wrestling), Tejaswini Sawant (50m prone finals, shooting).

Ravi Kumar (Bronze, men’s 10m air rifle)
Ravi’s bronze medal in the 10m air rifle event ensured that India bag its third medal on the opening day of the shooting competitions. He shot a total of 224.1 to finish behind Australian Dane Sampson (245) and Bangladesh’s Abdullah Hel Baki (244.7), who won the gold and silver, respectively at the Belmont Shooting Centre. He had taken bronze in this event at last month’s International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, as well.

Vikas Thakur (Bronze, men’s 94kg weightlifting)
India’s Vikas Thakur took bronze in the men’s 94kg category of the weightlifting competition at the 21st Commonwealth Games. Thakur registered a total of 351 kg which included 159 kg in snatch and 192 kg in clean and jerk. Thakur, who had taken silver in the 85 kg division at the 2014 CWG in Glasgow, Scotland, registered some of his best lifts in international competition.

Deepak Lather (Bronze, men’s 69kg category weightlifting)
The 18-year-old from Haryana made news by becoming the youngest Indian weightlifter to claim a Commonwealth Games medal. This is the youngster’s first ever CWG medal. Interestingly, Lather trained as a diver at the Army Sports Institute but was coaxed into trying his hand at weightlifting by his coaches.

Om Mitharwal (Bronze, 10m air-pistol)
While Jitu Rai won a gold in the same event, Mitharwal trailed with a bronze medal. He finished first in the qualification round after shooting 584 points to equal the Commonwealth Games record.

Other bronze medallists include Apurvi Chandela (women’s 10m air-rifle), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (women’s discus throw), Kiran Bishnoi (women’s 76kg wrestling), Ankur Mittal (men’s double trap shooting), Sachin Chaudhary (men’s heavyweight category in para powerlifting), Naman Tanwar (men’s 91kg boxing), Manika Batra and G. Sathiyan (mixed doubles table tennis), Sharath Kamal (men’s singles table tennis), Harmeet Desai and Sanil Shankar Shetty (men’s doubles table tennis), Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy (women’s doubles badminton), Somveer (men’s 86kg freestyle wrestling), Sakshi Malik (women’s 62kg wrestling), Manoj Kumar (men’s 69kg boxing), Hussamuddin Mohammed (men’s 55kg boxing) and Divya Kakran women’s 68kg freestyle wrestling).

IANS