Birmingham 2022 sets a new Commonwealth Games story for India: fewer medals, more diversity

Birmingham 2022 sets a new Commonwealth Games story for India: fewer medals, more diversity

T.The Commonwealth Birmingham Indian campaign race got off to a bad start with the loss of its pioneering torchbearer: javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra. The Olympic gold medalist suffered a groin injury during her silver medal performance at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon a month ago.

However, with just over a week into the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Chopra’s absence was not really felt in the sizeable Indian contingent or among fans as it would at the Olympics. Rather, other members of the contingent have massively stepped up: as it stands, the Indians have won 9 gold, 8 silver and 9 bronze medals in nine sports.

India’s numerous podium successes are down from recent Commonwealth editions, yet, the relative ease with which some athletes have passed the competition perhaps reflects the declining prestige of the Commonwealth Games relative to other international tournaments.

However, it is still the first major track and field tournament with a traditional Indian following to take place in the Covid era with no major restrictions or biological bubbles taking place, especially in light of the postponement of the 2022 Asian Games.

With the Commonwealth Games concluding on Monday, the biggest story for India lies in the different medal disciplines compared to past editions, where shooting and wrestling dominated the scene, even if it wasn’t a navigation. regular administrative. And that’s why the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games are ThePrint’s Newsmaker of the Week.


Read also: What is lawn bowls, the outdoor sport that gave India its historic gold at the Commonwealth Games


Expand the podium pool

Of India’s 26 medals so far, 10 have come in weightlifting, a positive progression from 9 at the 2018 Gold Coast, with Tokyo Olympics silver medal Mirabai Chanu scoring gold alongside tournament rookies Jeremy Lalrinnunga and Achinta Sheuli.

Twenty-eight of India’s 66 medals at Australia’s Gold Coast came in the usual shooting and wrestling suspects. With shooting removed from the Birmingham calendar and wrestling underway during the final days of the Games, the gap was there to close for Indians in other disciplines.

The results so far have shown a mix of veterans and youngsters: 35-year-old squash player Sourav Ghosal followed his silver at the Gold Coast with a bronze in Birmingham, 40-year-old Sharath Kamal Achanta was part of a four-member squash that won gold in table tennis and 23-year-old Murali Shreeshankar secured silver in the long jump, to name a few.

However, the most notable was the historic gold of India’s lawn bowls in the women’s four-legged category, with the winning team consisting of a physical education teacher from a Delhi high school, a sports officer from the Jharkhand district. , a Jharkhand police officer and an Assam Forest Department employee.

And there may be more to come, with most of the track and field events taking place this weekend, as well as India’s women’s cricket semi-final against England and medals in hockey, table tennis and boxing.


Read also: Hima Das “gold” on CWG exposes ignorance of all things, not cricket


Federations under the cloud

However, no major tournament with Indian participation seems to go on without incident or off-court controversy and the same goes for Birmingham 2022, in the cases of boxer Lovlina Borgohain and high jump athlete Tejaswin Shankar.

In the week leading up to the Games, Borgohain had complained on Twitter of “mental harassment”, apparently by the Boxing Federation of India, the Indian Olympic Association and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, over an administrative blockade of the entrance to his. coach at Birmingham Games Village.

Meanwhile, Shankar had to take his battle with the Indian Athletics Federation to the Delhi High Court to be approved as a replacement player for the Indian Athletics Contingent in Birmingham. Shankar had skipped the final selection tests in Chennai and chose to participate in the American collegiate tournament instead as a student in Kansas, and AFI denied him qualification before deciding to approach the court.

Borgohain’s Birmingham dream ended with a quarter-final defeat to Wales’ Rosie Eccles, but Shankar challenged the federation with a bronze medal to follow up on her national college-level successes.

The fact that Shankar was able to achieve this despite, rather than because of the federation’s work, reflects the need for existing powers to rethink and do away with some of the antiquated systems in place behind their selection processes.

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