The Indian team’s Commonwealth Games campaign ended with a total of 61 medals. They are number four on the list. This year’s competition concluded with a colorful closing ceremony in Birmingham on Monday.
The representatives of the Indian team were welcomed with a Bhangra dance. Nikhat Zarin and Sharat Kamal carried the Indian national flag at the closing ceremony. Indian athletes won a total of 22 gold, 16 silver, and 23 bronze medals in this year’s Commonwealth Games. Most medals came from wrestling (twelve medals, including 6 gold). Then there is weightlifting. Indian athletes won 10 medals from that event, including three golds. Seven medals came from boxing. All in all, the mood of the Indian team in Birmingham was quite positive.
Comments from the athletes
How did the mindset change? Eldhose Paul, the Indian star who snatched the gold in the men’s triple jump, says that Neeraj Chopra’s javelin gold win at the Tokyo Olympics last year has brought about a complete change in the Indian sports world. He says, “Earlier there was strange inertia working between us after appearing on the international stage. We used to lag mentally before entering the event. Neeraj Chopra has shown the way to shake off that weakness.”
Paul also said, “Neeraj’s gold at the Olympics has made the message clear that Indian athletes are second to none on the international stage. They too can excel. This mantra has personally inspired me a lot. Reinvigorated me.” “Overall, India’s performance at this year’s Commonwealth Games has proved that all the team members promised to do their best and make the country proud,” added.
The same tone has been heard in the mouth of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy. He and Chirag Shetty bagged the gold in badminton doubles for the first time in Commonwealth Games history. There was also a hat-trick of gold wins on the last day on Monday. Lakshya Sen and PV Sindhu won gold in boys and girls singles. This time six medals came from badminton.
“I feel this success marks the beginning of a new era,” says Satwik. This gold win is extraordinary in every sense. It can be said that this event ushered in a new era in Indian badminton.” He added, “Everybody knows that India has never won gold in men’s doubles before at the Commonwealth Games. We started it. This time surely many more champion Indian pairs will emerge.”
After winning gold in wrestling, Sakshi Malik regained herself in a new way. Sakshi’s reaction to winning gold in women’s 62kg, “It feels like I’m walking on the moon. After the 2016 Rio Olympics, there wasn’t much success on the international stage. The Commonwealth Games gold gave me a new lease of life.”
But there is also the pain of failure. The Indian team is coming back after a seven-goal deficit against Australia in the men’s hockey final.
In the words of goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, “There is a lot of hype that we won silver.”