It was a good day in office for the Indian Judo players at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 on Monday. Sushila Devi won silver in the women’s 48kg, followed by Vijay Kumar Yadav bronze in the men’s 60kg category.
Sushila won a silver medal in the 2014 edition of the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, while judo didn’t feature at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“The competition was tough and the players will have to give their best to win medals,” Jiwan Sharma, India's chief judo coach, said before the preliminary rounds.
Indeed, the players gave their best. Given that by April, players were clueless about competing at the Commonwealth Games due to infighting between officials of the Judo Federation of India (JFI).
Overall, it was a good performance on Monday in Birmingham. “I have done enough practice but lack of international exposure is a concern,” Sushila had said before going to Madrid.
India's medal tally at Commonwealth Games 2022 saw two medals coming in from Judo
Sushila gave her best in the gold medal match against Micheale Whitebooi of South Africa. Michele scored Waza-ari in extra time (golden score) to emerge the winner as winner couldn’t be decided during the stipulated time.
Yadav proved far better than his rival Petros Christodoulides of Cyprus in the bronze medal match. Yadav won by ippon in the opening 60 seconds of the contest.
Earlier in April this year, the JFI was de-recognized by the sports ministry for violating the 2011 National Sports Code. The national trials to shortlist the team for the Commonwealth Games were conducted by the ad-hoc panel of the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
Immediately after the selection trials, the ad-hoc panel chalked out plans to give selected players a six-week foreign exposure tour.
“The short training stint of the Indian team in Madrid, Spain, paid off,” national judo coach said.
Due to wrangling between the officials of the Judo Federation of India (JFI) elite judo players didn’t get any exposure tour to prepare for the Commonwealth Games post the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games held last year in Japan. The national competition was often postponed and eventually players were selected on the basis of trials in April.
India’s Jasleen Singh Saini too fought bravely but lost a bronze medal match to Nathan Katz of Australia in the final dying seconds of the men’s 66kg bout.
Suchika Tariyal was expected to win the third medal of the day for India, but she suffered defeat at the hands of Mauritius’s Christianne Legentil in the bronze medal match of the women’s 57kg.