The fire of youth, the experience of elder players and a bit of drama that is the trademark of Indian sports. The country’s Commonwealth Games campaign was a huge success following a rich medal haul that turned out to be the third best ever.
From the historic table tennis performance by Manika Batra, the trio of Manu Bhaker, Mehuli Ghosh and Anish Bhanwala and the arrival of super confident Neeraj Chopra. India had its stars of the future ready to take on the world.
The re-emergence of Saina Nehwal, who finished off in style with her women’s singles gold was cherry on the top.
With 26 Gold, 20 Silver and 20 Bronze, India stood 3rd on the table, and it was a perfect blend of youth and experience which delivered the results.
While the youth flourished on a big stage, the experience of Mary Kom, Seema Punia and Sushil Kumar displayed a determined campaign which was inspiring to the core.
Indian shooters, weightlifters, wrestlers and the boxers were expected to bring home the medals, the surprising package was the table tennis contingent. Manika Batra’s campaign was stunning with a historic individual gold, a team gold and a women’s double’s silver and a mixed double’s bronze.
Whereas the old guns – MC Mary Kom and Sushil Kumar gave jaw dropping performance, and inspired the whole nation. There were medals from squash, nine medals from boxing, 12 from wrestling, 16 from shooting and nine from weightlifting. The likes of Mirabai Chanu, Sanjita Chanu and Sathish Sivalingam in the field on weightlifting were head and shoulders above their competitors.
At the badminton courts, it was mostly about Saina and P V Sindhu but K Srikanth continued to create a space of his own, taking down the legendary Lee Chong Wei during the gold-winning team competition. In the Saina vs Sindhu battle, the former came out trumps, displaying a very special kind of aggression in the final.
The boxing contingent won two Gold, three silver and three bronze. And there was lots to celebrate in track and field too with Neeraj's season's best 86.47m show for gold being the biggest takeaway. The 20-year-old showed he is one for the future with a performance that had brilliance written all over it. Seema Punia delivered a silver, her second successive, in discus throw, a remarkable achievement for the 34-year-old, whose doping past continues to cast a shadow on her present.
But both the men and women hockey teams were a disappointment as they failed to live up to the hype and expectations and failed to bag a medal.
The 2018 Gold Coast Games bring India a lot of hope for the future and with 66 medals India can be proud the athletes and the staff members for an unbelievable campaign.