India’s performance at Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games was a result of a mix of rising youth exuberance and experience. India came back with a total of 26 medals with third spot in the medal tally. In contrast with 15 Gold medals at Glasgow 2014, The Indian contingent was able to clinch 26 gold medals this time along with 20 silver and 20 bronze medals.
This edition of commonwealth saw rising teen sensations like Manu Bhaker, Mehuli Ghosh, Anish Bhanwala, Manika Batra as well as a top performance by Neeraj Chopra. There are not just glittering medals on the platter, but also hopes for the future.
RIGHT ON THE MARK
The young shooting prodigy Manu Bhaker bagged gold in 10m Air Pistol event. However, this is not the first time the 16-year old has achieved gargantuan feats. In 2018, Manu became the youngest Indian to win a gold at ISSF Shooting World Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico. She has won 2 gold medals in 10m air pistol and mixed events.
In 1998, 15-year-old Abhinav Bindra was then the youngest Indian to participate in the Commonwealth Games held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Two decades later, 15-year-old Anish Bhanwala became the youngest Indian to win a gold for India at the Commonwealth Games. Anish won the 25m rapid fire pistol event, breaking the Games record in the process.
Anish was the youngest in Indian Contingent and also became the youngest Indian to win a Gold at Commonwealth Games. The native of Sonipat, Haryana had last year marked his name among the list of India’s most promising sportspersons. The pistol shooter won silver at 2017 Brisbane Commonwealth Championships and five medals (2 golds, 2 silver and 1 bronze) at 2017 Junior World Championships held in Suhl, Germany.
Born in Karnal Haryana, Anish stormed into the scene with a successful season in 2017. The pistol shooter won silver at 2017 Brisbane Commonwealth Championships and five medals (2 golds, 2 silver and 1 bronze) at 2017 Junior World Championships held in Suhl, Germany. He created a new world record en route to clinching the 25-metre standard pistol gold.
EMERGENCE OF NEW TT ICON
Paddler Manika Batra, by far, has proved to be the best performer among Indian contingent. The 22-year old’s campaign at her maiden Commonwealth Games has won many hearts and turned her into an overnight star. For most people who don’t know, The Delhi-born girl had dropped out of Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University, after the first year to focus on her game.
With four medals, Manika has justified what many would call a massive risk. She has given one of the best individual performance among others in Indian Contingent. She has won a gold each in women’s team and women’s singles; silver in women’s doubles and a bronze in mixed doubles.
ATHLETE WITH A GOLDEN ARM
Counting further of the ‘many firsts’ that happened at Gold Coast, Neeraj Chopra is another bid positive from Gold Coast. The 22-year old from Haryana bagged the only Gold Medal in Athletics for India. The rising teen sensation became a force to reckon during 2016 IAAF U20 World Championship when he had created a world record (86.48m) in the javelin throw.
Neeraj Chopra registered 86.47 meters in the javelin event at Gold Coast. With that, Chopra not only joined an elite list of Indian athletes to win a gold medal on their Commonwealth Games debut but also became the first Indian to hurl the javelin for a gold medal finish.
RE-EMERGENCE OF GOLD GIRLS
The re-emergence of Saina Nehwal and the 35-year-old MC Mary Kom, who also carried the tri-colour at the closing ceremony has established that while the new stars are emerging on the horizon of India sports, the old guard still holds promise for the forthcoming Asian Games and the 2020 Olympics. Competing in her first Commonwealth Games the veteran India boxer punched her way to the gold glory.
Saina in the process of repeating her CWG gold medal feat in singles and guiding the mixed doubles team to title triumph has enforced herself to be the undisputed queen of Indian badminton. Emerging from a career-threatening knee surgery that had hampered her progress at the Rio Olympic Games, Saina gave a befitting reply to the critics who had written her off and anointed PV Sindhu as the queen of Indian badminton. The great Saina-Sindhu rivalry will give Indian medal prospects a big push for the 2018 Asian Games and 2020 Olympics.
The brand market too has got its share of young and trusted icons. Manika, Manu and Chopra will lend marketing credibility to any brand, while Saina and Mary Kom has given a big marketing boost to their associated brands.