The threat of suspension, a hefty fine, trauma and anxiety following dope-related issues spoiling the team's run up to the Games, the Indian weightlifters will get an opportunity to perform well in front of home supporters and erase the haunting memories.
“We are looking forward to the competition,” asserted team's coach Harnam Singh on the eve of the event to be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex from Monday. “We have left behind all the bad memories. The fact is that all our lifters are clean and raring to go,'' he says.
The coach feels that the team has a realistic chance of winning three gold medals out of a projected 10 to 12 medals from the arena. “I do not rule out a couple of more medals but all will depend on how our lifters perform in the high-voltage competition,” he remarked.
India seems to be thinking that Nigeria is going to be its main challenger, both in men's and women's section ahead of Australia and England. “It is likely that as many as nine countries will be sharing the top honours and I don't think any one country is going to dominate”, he opined.
Ng. Soniya Chanu in 48 kg category and defending champion Yumnam Renu Bala Chanu in 58 kg class are tipped to dominate in the women's side while K. Ravi Kumar in the 69 kg of men's section is expected to come out with a standout performance.
Geeta Rani favourite
Geeta Rani, in the 75 plus category, is also likely to defend the title she won at Melbourne. The Games' record holder's chances will depend on how her chief rivals Deborah Acason of Australia, Maryam Usman of Nigeria and Ele Opeloge of Samoa stand up to the task.
Wales' Breeze Michaela will like to defend the 63-kg gold medal in what looks like her final competition before retiring. India is not fielding a lifter in this event and in 69 kg class.
There is a touch of India in teams like England and Canada. Gurbinder Cheema, who will compete in the men's 105 kg event, will be making his debut for England. His father had represented India in the 1978 Games. Jasvir Singh of Canada is one of that country's medal hopes.
Yule keeps going
Scotland's Thomas Yule, competing in 105 kg division, is looking for a sixth Games medal. The 34-year-old won three representing England in 1998. He moved to Scotland in 2002 and won a bronze, repeating the feat four years later. Yule is all keyed up to pick up the sixth medal.
India is not fielding lifters in 94 and 105 kg divisions owing to lack of qualified athletes.
Competitions will be held in eight weight classes in men's section and seven in women's category. In all there will be 24 medals in the men's and 21 in the distaff side for a total of 45.
On October 12, the final day of weightlifting competition, powerlifting bench press for women and men will be held for disabled athletes where six medals will be up for grabs.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games 2010