You can bet your money on these stars in the Indian contingent to make sure that some of the gold medals in the CWG stay at home…

Abhinav Bindra

He has the unique distinction among Indian athletes of having been the world and Olympic champion at the same time. The air rifle ace who has already participated in three Olympics, started his international career with the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 when he was 15 years of age. Having won the best medals that sport has to offer, Bindra will be keen to shine at home, and beat the challenge from the man in form, Gagan Narang, the world record holder. In fact, Narang would actually be aiming to win six gold medals, and part of it with Bindra's support!

Leander Paes

The tennis ace with 12 Grand Slam men's doubles and mixed doubles titles is the evergreen star. He had won the Olympic bronze in singles in Atlanta in 1996, and is ready to spring into action for a medal in the London 2012 Games. He has won a clutch of medals in the Asian Games. He has been the ultimate of hero for India in the Davis Cup history with his gutsy fare against top players. He will be looking at winning the men's doubles gold with Mahesh Bhupathi and the mixed doubles gold with Saina Nehwal.

Sushil Kumar

He is the rustic champion with a heart of gold. The Delhi wrestler had shown his remarkable fighting qualities to win a bronze medal in the Beijing Games through repechage when he won three bouts within 45 minutes against US, Belarus and Kazakhstan, after having lost in the second round to the eventual silver medallist from Ukraine. He emphasised his intensity of focus on the sport despite all the distractions by winning the world championship gold recently. He has given a new lease of life not only to Indian wrestling, but to Indian sport.

Vijender Singh

The boxer from Bhiwani emerged the hero of Indian sport, as he first won the Olympic bronze and followed that up with a world championship bronze. A charming personality with good looks, Vijender has been able to thrive on attention, after having slogged quietly for years to be a solid boxer with sound basics. Though Indian boxing has won only two gold medals in the previous editions of the Commonwealth Games, Vijender promises to lead a gold splurge at home. Indian boxing owes a lot to him. In fact, his confidence has rubbed on to the rest of the fraternity.

Saina Nehwal

The 20-year-old badminton star is the most recognised face in Indian sport at the moment, though she has made only the quarterfinals of Olympics and the world championships. A string of success in top events had pushed her to be No.2 in a sport that is dominated by a clutch of Chinese. She has worked very hard on her fitness to match the best in the business, and she is a fighter to the core. More than anything, Saina has a great attitude that keeps her level-headed and the unflinching work ethic of a champion. The Commonwealth Games gold could be the beginning of many achievements.


‘Not taking any medal for granted' September 30, 2010