The Indian contingent put up a stupendous show in the just concluded Commonwealth Games (CWG) to return with a medal tally of 61 – including 22 gold, 16 silver, and 23 bronze medals. The performance helped India finish fourth in the points table – which appeared to be a distant dream before the start of the event. With shooting contributing to the bulk of the medals to India’s success in earlier editions, expectations from the Birmingham Games were not so high, as shooting was dropped from the Games this time. However, Birmingham turned out to be a happy hunting ground for India. The rich medal haul represents the new India, which is more confident.
Though India needs some more time to become a sporting powerhouse, all indications are that the country is on the right track. The wrestlers took the onus on themselves in the absence of shooting, providing the bulk of the medals. What was encouraging was that the Indian grapplers won medals in all the events they competed in, stamping their authority. Weightlifting, with 10 medals, set the tone on the second day of the competitions, while the shuttlers provided a perfect finish with three gold medals on the final day. The performance by the athletics contingent was gratifying with the team returning with eight medals. The 1-2 finish of India’s triple jumpers Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Aboobacker will surely be etched in the history of Indian athletics in golden letters. Athletes from the Northeast states like Manipur, Mizoram, and Assam also won medals and made headlines by participating in the Games. But not a single player from Arunachal Pradesh was part of the CWG contingent. This is a big setback and there is a need for serious introspection in this regard.