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India’s gold quest at Gold Coast

Fans arrive prior to the Opening Ceremony for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium on April 4, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia.

Fans arrive prior to the Opening Ceremony for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium on April 4, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia.  

India’s top stars and dark horses at the Commonwealth Games

As the Commonwealth Games 2018 gets under way at Gold Coast in Australia, here is a list of Indian players to watch out for.

Shooting:

Of the 156 gold medals that India has won so far in the Games, 56 have been by the shooters. The shooters have accounted for 118 of the 436 medals won by India over the years.

The Indian team of 27 shooters this time is a fine blend of youth and experience, each one capable of winning the gold in the 17 events of pistol, rifle and shotgun.

Medal hopes:

Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu

Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu  

 

Heena Sidhu: The pistol shooter from Punjab will compete in the 25m pistol and 10m air pistol events

Jitu Rai: The Army man would be aiming for a successive CWG gold in the men’s 50m pistol event  

Athletics:

India has been a weakling in CWG athletics, winning just four golds so far — Milkha Singh (440 yards, 1958), women’s 4x400m (2010), Krishna Poonia (women’s discus, 2010), and Vikas Gowda (men’s discus, 2014). But this year promises to be different.

Medal hopes: 

Neeraj Chopra competes during the men’s javelin qualification at the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 in London.

Neeraj Chopra competes during the men’s javelin qualification at the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 in London.   | Photo Credit: Alexander Hassenstein

 

Neeraj Chopra: A gold at last year’s Asian Championships is the 20-year-old javelin thrower’s biggest achievement going into his maiden CWG 

Seema Punia: The 34-year-old discus thrower, who bagged a silver in Glasgow, would be eyeing a golden end to her CWG stint 

Squash:

A women’s doubles gold in 2014 opened India’s CWG account in squash, and Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinnapa would be eyeing an encore.

Indian squash player Deepika Pallikal.

Indian squash player Deepika Pallikal.   | Photo Credit: V. Ganesan

 

The doubles pair is seeded third. Placed in Pool C with a Wales, Pakistani and Malta, the Indian duo is expected to progress to the knock-out stage with ease. 

Saurav Ghosal, who narrowly missed a bronze in the last edition, is seeded third.

Badminton:

In badminton, India could well collect its best-ever medal haul, beating the previous best of four in 1998, 2010 and 2014.

Medal hopes:

Going for gold: Under the guidance of India's chief National coach P. Gopi Chand, P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will fancy their chances in Gold Coast. File

Going for gold: Under the guidance of India's chief National coach P. Gopi Chand, P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will fancy their chances in Gold Coast. File   | Photo Credit: V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

 

P.V. Sindhu: The Olympic silver-medallist in seen as a sure-shot medallist. She won a bronze in the last edition.  

Saina Nehwal: The 2010 gold-medallist can be a strong contender if she is fit.  

Wrestling:

Medal hopes:

The Indian wrestling contingent that will take to the mat at the Commonwealth Games has a good chance of a podium finish as it includes three highly-decorated contenders, two of them Olympic medallists.

Sushil Kumar: The double Olympic medallist is competing in the 74kg men’s freestyle 

High on hopes: Indian wrestling contingent looks forward to medals for Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat.

High on hopes: Indian wrestling contingent looks forward to medals for Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

 

Sakshi Malik: The Rio bronze-medallist will be in action in the 62kg freestyle event 

Boxing:

A fine mix of youth and experience holds a lot of promise for India in the boxing arena. It will not be a surprise if the country, which has fielded eight men and four women, gets close to its best-ever showing of seven medals (three gold and four bronze) achieved in the 2010 Delhi Games.

Medal hopes:

MAGNIFICENT MARY: The legendary M.C. Mary Kom would like to add a Commonwealth Games gold medal to her well-stocked trophy cupboard.

MAGNIFICENT MARY: The legendary M.C. Mary Kom would like to add a Commonwealth Games gold medal to her well-stocked trophy cupboard.   | Photo Credit: AFP

 

M.C. Mary Kom: The five-time world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist is a favourite to pick up the 48kg gold.  

Vikas Krishan: Vikas, making his debut at the Games, is a strong contender in 74kg.    

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 11:41:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/indias-gold-quest-at-gold-coast/article23433419.ece

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