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India’s chances of bettering 2010 CWG performance slim

Drawing a definite conclusion on how India will fare in the 20th Commonwealth Games is far too difficult a task.

The general consensus is the country will win fewer medals than the record tally of 101 (38 gold, 27 silver and 36 bronze) medals that it finished with in New Delhi in 2010, recording its best ever performance at the Games.

It was indeed an occasion to rejoice for the Indian fans as the home team also touched the second spot in the overall medals tally for the first time pushing England to the third spot, but a long way behind champion Australia.  

It, under normal circumstances, should have been the perfect platform for a re-jig of the Indian priorities in the various Olympic disciplines as the string of fine performances at the New Delhi CWG also saw an improved showing at the Guangzhou Asian Games held a couple of months later.

And when the Indian team returned home from London 2012 Olympics, doubling its Beijing medal haul from three to six, the clamour for more focus only got high-pitched by the hour forcing the officialdom to look into the future and work on a concept paper which went into circulation the next year.

Titled “Long Term Plan for Development of Talent in Olympic Sports”, the 18-page paper prepared by the Department of Sports, which spoke of the general state-of-affairs of Indian sport, also set targets for the long haul generally focussing on the 2020 Olympic Games.

Roadmap

The roadmap suggested, among other things, including the third position in the overall medals tally at Glasgow 2014, but with a higher medal tally of 125 as it was anticipated rather correctly that England and the other home nations would have an advantage as the host and thus be able to overtake India when compared to the New Delhi CWG.

But a quick reality check would reveal that the plans set in the concept paper have been a non-starter. Beyond the general apathy, it should be also honestly stressed that the plans also fell apart due to the suspension imposed on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) by the International Olympic Committee and the drastic downsizing of the budget outlay for sports in the subsequent two years on account of pressures that the Indian economy.

The latter reason also stopped the appointment of foreign coaches and recovery experts on the promised dates leaving an exasperated Athletics Federation of India president, Adille J. Sumariwala to complain openly that his association was forced to rework on the strategies for Glasgow 2014.

“In New Delhi, we had won a record tally of 12 medals compared to the 11 that India was able to win through the earlier editions. With the appointment of the foreign coach for long-distances raced delayed until April and that of the recovery expert till last week, I do not see India winning more than a few medals at this year’s CWG,” he told a convention of sports journalists in early June.

The case has been no different in disciplines like boxing and gymnastics, which also contributed handsomely to the Indian total in New Delhi.

In the case with both these disciplines, the internecine bickering within the two federations has already delivered a big body blow to the Indian aspirations at the coming Games.

This is not to leave out the decision of the organisers here to cut down the number of medals in shooting here, from 44 in New Delhi to 19, the reduction being worked out by scrapping the pairs and the centre-fire and standard pistol events in which India has had complete sway since the days of Jaspal Rana in the 1990s.

It is against this background that India goes into action through the next 12 days here, starting Wednesday, with the hope that its sportspersons would not let it down and live up to the vast expectations of their fans back home.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 9:56:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/indias-chances-of-bettering-2010-cwg-performance-slim/article6234759.ece

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