(August 10, 2022) It rained gold and silver for India at Birmingham. Finishing fourth in the medal tally at the Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2022 – Indian athletes brought home a total of 61 medals, including 22 golds, 16 silvers and 23 bronze in various categories. While accolades were expected from seasoned sports stars such as Mirabai Chanu, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, and Nikhat Zareen, some performances at the CWG came as a pleasant surprise for the nation. Making new records and winning first-time medals for the country, these stars have added to India’s 75th Independence Year celebrations.
Global Indian takes a look at a few brilliant performances at CWG 2022, which will inspire many young and budding sports personalities for years to come.
Avinash Sable, steeplechaser
Steeplechase – an athletic event that most Indians were unaware of until recently, started trending on several micro blogging sites after athlete Avinash Sable created history by winning the silver medal at the CWG. Running in the 3000m men’s steeplechase event, the Maharashtrian lad not only broke his personal best record, but also became the first non-Kenyan athlete to claim the podium since 1994.
Born in to a farming family in a small village named Mandwa, the struggles of his initial days turned Avinash into a world-class runner. A soldier, who has served the Indian Army at the highest battlefield on the planet – Siachen – 27-year old Avinash was just 0.05 seconds short of the gold at CWG. While many knew of his potential, the expectations of him winning a silver were very low considering he finished 11th at World Athletics Championship just a few days back. Defying odds, however, this Indian Army jawaan emerged victorious.
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Indian women’s lawn bowls team
While most women are busy taking care of their home and family in their 30s and 40s, these four bowling queens brought home India’s first-ever medal in lawn bowls. Lovely Choubey, Rupa Rani Tirkey, Pinki and Nayanmoni Saikia achieved an extraordinary feat by claiming gold at the CWG. The ladies defeated the South African team by 17-10 in Birmingham. A sport which has been a part of the CWG since its inception in 1930, it attracts very few players in India resulting in almost no international representation from the country. With this historic win, one can only hope to see more participation and medals in lawn bowls going ahead.
Jeremy Lalrinnunga, weightlifter
One of the youngest sports stars in the Indian contingent, he is also one of the brightest. 19-year-old Jeremy Lalrinnunga had a dream-come-true moment at the Commonwealth Games, after he earned the gold medal in the men’s 67kg weightlifting event. The former Youth Olympic winner struggled through a very tough phase last year due to a series of injuries and medical issues. But despite the setbacks, the champion made a superb comeback and set a new Commonwealth Games record by lifting 300kg (140kg snatch and 160kg in clean and jerk) in his specific category. Unfortunately, however, the weightlifter from Mizoram ended up with an injured back in the process.
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Eldhose Paul, triple jumper
Scripting history, Eldhose Paul became the first Indian to win gold in the men’s triple jump at CWG. The 25-year-old jumper from Kerala has been participating in various state and national-level championships since a very young age, and has won several medals. Serving the Indian Navy, Eldhose was able to produce his best effort of 17.03m in his third attempt at the CWG. However that could not be recorded as his personal best due to wind assistance. A prodigy of Dronacharya T P Ouseph, Eldhose was also the first Indian to qualify for the triple jump finals at the World Championships, which was held at Eugene last month.
Indian men’s table tennis team
Defeating the mighty Singaporean team by 3-1, Indian table tennis stars clinched the gold at the CWG. In the first round, the top-ranking pair of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Harmeet Desai beat Singapore’s Izaac Quek Yong and Pang Yew En Koen 3-0 (13-11, 11-7, 11-5). This was followed by a brilliant performance by paddlers Sharath Kamal and Sanil Shetty helped the team finish podium at the event. India table tennis team, which stands at the 121st position on the world ranking list, was playing under pressure throughout the match. However, it was their grit and determination that won the country a gold medal.