Does India?s CWG 2014 performance promise much for Olympics 2016?
India’s Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2014 campaign started by being overshadowed with Sania Mirza’s nationality debate and ended with two officials putting the nation to shame; reminding us all why parents continue to keep kids away from all ‘non-cricket’ sports. However, the bright sparks were few and far between, as India finished with their worst ever CWG standing this century.
Poor conversion rate
The sparks emanated from the wrestlers, shooters and shuttlers as India showed an astonishingly poor conversion rate at the grand finale. Out of 45 gold medals within sight, the nation could just pick a poor 15. At just 33%, it was the worst conversion rate amongst the top 10 nations. Along with judo, the boxers looked so much out of depth in the finals that one wondered if reaching last two was their only objective at Glasgow.
India had 52 finalists in 2002 and 39 in 2006. In both instances they had conversion rate of about 60% and finished higher and more gold medals than this time around – 30 golds in 2002, 22 in 2006. We are keeping the 2010 comparison out as being host nation, India had significant advantage and thanks to Kalmadi and gang, the opposition had more disadvantages!
Amidst all this, few Indians who followed the games (and sadly, its very few) got smiles from the following athletes. But can they give us bigger joy at Olympics 2016?
Abhinav Bindra (middle) won his first individual gold medal at the Commonwealth Games
- Shooters: Bindra and Co. pocketed an astonishing 17 of the 57 medals available. The man himself set a new games record, and so did Jitu Rai. Serious contenders for Rio 2016.
- Wrestlers: The wrestlers grabbed 13 of the 55 medals on view. Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt and other wrestlers won their finals convincingly, at times, brutally. They garnered some serious heart pumping support. Serious contenders for Rio 2016.
- Weightlifters: Satish and gang power lifted 14 of the 57 medals in the sport. Satish himself set a games record. Outside chance at Rio 2016. A special mention here of paralympic athlete Rajinder Rahelu who lifted 180.5 kg on his way to a silver medal on the penultimate day of the games. Rahelu’s legs are severely affected by polio and his win just after the hockey team put up an insipid display, was heart warming.
- Shuttlers: India took 4 medals out of the 18 available at Glasgow, lead by Parupalli Kashyap claiming India’s first gold in men’s event in three decades. That our badminton pedigree is on the rise is signified by presence of more Indians than any other nationality in top 100 of men’s badminton rankings. The signs are good and Saina will be around. Serious contenders for Rio 2016.
- Outstanding individuals creating history: Vikas Gowda became the first Indian man to win a field event gold medal at CWG and the squash pair of Dipika Pallikal and Joshana Chinappa gave India their first squash medal in the CWG history.
Congratulations to all the 64 medal winners and their support staff!