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Commonwealth Games 2018: How many medals can India expect from Gold Coast?

Chances of Indian athletes at 2018 Commonwealth Games

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature 25 Mar 2018, 21:46 IST
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Indian athletes at 2014 CWG Opening Ceremony
Indian athletes at 2014 CWG Opening Ceremony

The 21st edition of Commonwealth Games will be held in Gold Coast, Australia and Indian athletes have been waiting for 2 years to put up a memorable show after a disappointing performance in 2016 Rio Olympics.

India is sending out a strong contingent of 220 athletes and will be participating in 14 sports. Let's take a look at the chances of these athletes at the Commonwealth Games 2018.


Athletics

India will be represented by 18 male and 13 female athletes. There are no huge expectations from the entire contingent except, for two or three because of the dominance of Jamaica, Kenya, England, Australia and Canada.

Neeraj Chopra in Men’s Javelin is the biggest medal prospect in Athletics, similar to Vikas Gowda in Glasgow. He has the best season throw among all the athletes participating while Vipin Kasana is the 4th best thrower.

Another prospect is Tejaswin Shankar in Men’s high jump. He created a national record in the Federation Cup last month with a jump of 2.28m which is the tied best season jump among all CWG competitors.


Tejaswin Shankar is one of India's bright prospects.
Tejaswin Shankar is one of India's bright prospects.


Arpinder Singh is another favourite to win a medal in Men’s triple jump. Race walkers, Irfan KT and Manish Rawat are improving year after year but, they are yet to break 1:20 barrier.

Among the ladies, Purnima Hembram in Heptathlon and Seema Punia are the favourites to win a medal. Soumya in Women’s 20km walk and Suriya in Women’s 10000m have outside chance, while we can also expect one from both relay teams.

Indian athletes have struggled on the big stage and hence a prediction of 5 medals seems to be the safest bet.

Prediction: 5 medals - 2 Gold (Neeraj Chopra in MJT, Arpinder Singh in MTJ), 1 Silver (1 relay team), 2 Bronze (Tejaswin in MHJ, Purnima in WHep)


Badminton

PV Sindhu is the favourite to win gold in Australia
PV Sindhu is the favourite to win gold in Australia

Badminton is a sport where Indians have made great strides in recent years. This is why there’s a huge expectation on our badminton contingent. India will be represented by Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Pranaav Jerry Chopra, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Ashwini Ponnappa, Sikki Reddy and, Ruthvika Shivani Gadde.

In the mixed team event, India is strong favorites to win the gold medal. They should easily breeze past Scotland, Pakistan and, Sri Lanka to top the group. Malaysia, England and, Singapore are also expected to top their respective groups.

India might face them in the semi-final or final. Comparing the depth of the Indian team with respect to the other three nations, anything other than gold will be a surprising result.

In men’s singles, Srikanth will be seeded 1st and Prannoy will be seeded 3rd. The legendary Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia is expected to give tough time to the Indians. Srikanth had never beaten LCW on the international circuit, but a lot has changed since their last meeting in 2015.

In women’s singles, the only question to be answered is which Indian will win the gold medal? Considering the form, Sindhu has the edge but Saina has a 2-1 H2H record over Sindhu in BWF tournaments, including the recent win in 2018 Indonesian Masters. And don’t forget about 20-year-old Ruthvika Shivani. Who knows if the youngster can pull off a surprise!

Malaysia has the edge over India in doubles and along with the English pair of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock in mixed doubles, it will be a tough task for our doubles teams to top the podium. The best bet lies in the pairing of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.

Prediction: 8 medals - 3 Gold (Mixed Team, Srikanth in MS, Saina/Sindhu in WS), 2 Silver (Saina/Sindhu in WS, Chirag/Satwik in MD), 3 Bronze (Prannoy in MS, Sikki/Ashwini in WD, Pranav/Sikki in XD)


Boxing

A lot of hopes will be pinned on Mary Kom.
A lot of hopes will be pinned on Mary Kom.

Indian boxing had gone through a lot of ups and downs in past 10 years, with Vijender Singh and Mary Kom winning Olympic medals and our federation being suspended by AIBA. Boxing Federation of India was recognized as a national body by IOA a few months back and everyone hopes it’s the start of new era.

BFI has so far done everything right including having a proper trial and giving international exposure to nearly 40 boxers over past few months. The preparations for CWG have been great and positively voiced by our boxers as well as coach Santiago Nieva.

Eight male and four female pugilists will represent India at CWG. The biggest medal hopes are pinned on the experienced boxers such as Mary Kom, Vikas Krishnan, Manoj Kumar, Sarita Devi and Pinki Rani. Another huge prospect is Manish Kaushik in 60kg where he defeated the world medallist Shiva Thapa not once but twice in last one year.

England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Australia (being the “hosts”) are favourites along with India to win most of the medals.

Prediction: 9 medals - 3 Gold (Manish Kaushik in M60, Vikas Krishnan in M75, Mary Kom in W48), 3 Silver (Manoj Kumar in M69, Pinki Rani in W51, Sarita Devi in W60), 3 Bronze (Amit Phangal in M49, Gaurav Solanki in M52 & Satish Kumar in M+91)


Cycling

Deborah Herold is India's best chance of a medal in cycling.
Deborah Herold is India's best chance of a medal in cycling.

Cycling is dominated by Australia, England and New Zealand, and India has never won a medal before. However, in recent years, Deborah Herold from Andaman is making huge strides in cycling for India. Last season, she was ranked 13th in the world in 500m Time Trial and has a great chance to win a medal.

Prediction: 1 medals - 1 Bronze (Deborah in 500m Time Trial)


Gymnastics

India will pin their hopes on Aruna Budda Reddy in the absence of Dipa Karmakar.
India will pin their hopes on Aruna Budda Reddy in the absence of Dipa Karmakar.


India’s 1st ever international medallist Dipa Karmakar is not participating due to an injury. However, her performance in recent years, especially at Rio Olympics, has inspired many gymnasts in India.

In Dipa’s absence, Aruna Reddy is the best hope to win a medal She recently won a bronze medal in 2018 World Cup, thereby becoming first Indian to clinch a medal at WC. In Men’s section, Rakesh Patra has outside chance to win a medal

Prediction: 1 medal - 1 Bronze (Aruna Reddy in Women’s Vault)


Hockey

Sjoerd Marijne has prepared a strong hockey contingent.
Sjoerd Marijne has prepared a strong hockey contingent.


Indian coach Sjoerd Marijne took a bold decision by dropping the experienced Sardar Singh and Ramandeep Singh. However, under the captaincy of Manpreet Singh and PR Sreejesh back as goalkeeper, and with the likes of SV Sunil, Rupinderpal and Kothajit Singh, there’s a decent mix of experienced and youth players. Marijne did lot of experimentation in the recently concluded Sultan Azlan Shah Cup where the team finished disappointing 5th, but it can be considered as a one-off.

India are clubbed with England, Pakistan, Malaysia and Wales in Group B. The fight for the top spot will be between India and England. The recent performance indicates that India will come out on the top and will most likely face New Zealand in the semis, which is also winnable.

What lies ahead of the elusive gold medal is a possible finale against Australia. India fell short against the Aussies in last 2 editions of CWG and the story is likely to remain same this time too, considering the Aussies are the hosts and the favourites.

Coming to the women’s team led by Rani Rampal, they are on a high after recent 3-1 Test series victory over South Korea. Similar to the men’s team, the women’s team has a mix of experienced and youth players. The onus wil be on Rani, Savita, Deepika, Sushila, Namita, Vandana and Poonam.

India are seeded 4th and have to face England, South Africa, Malaysia and Wales in Group A. India, ranked 10th in the world, are expected to win all the group matches except against World number 2 England and will likely face the hosts in the semis.

Considering the pedigree of the Aussies, we are expected to battle for the bronze medal against another tough opponent in the form of New Zealand. Hoping for a repeat of 2006 semifinal and hence prediction of bronze for our women’s team.

Prediction: 2 medals - 1 Silver (Men’s Team), 1 Bronze (Women’s Team)


Shooting

Manu Bhaker has been impressive int he 2018 ISSF World Cup
Manu
Bhaker
has been impressive int he 2018 ISSF World Cup

CWG’s decision to scrap team events from this edition has affected India more than any other nation. However, the recent show at ISSF World Cup in Mexico where India topped the medals table for first time in WC gives very positive news. The youngsters Manu Bhaker and Mehuli Ghosh have captured the attention of the entire world and they will be the focal point in CWG.

In Men’s rifle, the focus will be on experienced campaigners like Gagan Narang, Sanjeev Rajput and Chain Singh. Deepak and Ravi Kumar also had a great WC in Mexico.

In pistol, Jitu Rai is the heavy favourite while the shotgun team’s medal hopes are pinned on Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Kynan Chenai, Mohammed Asab and Ankur Mittal.

In Women’s Rifle, Apurvi Chandela will aim to win a medal along with Mehuli. Tejaswini Sawant and Anjum Moudgil are also in good form. Heena Sidhu will lead the pistol team along with Manu & Annuraj. Not much expectation from the shotgun team.

Shooting is the toughest sport to predict and hence it’s difficult to predict who will win which medal.

Prediction: 15 medals – 5 Gold, 5 Silver, 5 Bronze


Squash

As the squad is yet to be announced, it is difficult to predict the number of medals. Expecting 2 medals – 1 in singles, 1 in doubles

Prediction: 2 medals – 1 Gold (Doubles), 1 Bronze (Singles)



Table Tennis

Manika Batra and Mouma Das are India's bright hopes in TT.
Manika Batra and Mouma Das are India's bright hopes in TT.

India is sending one of the strongest teams ever to CWG. Both men’s and women’s team are 2nd best among CW nations. Also the doubles pairing of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Achanta Sharath Kamal looks strong on paper. The same applies for women’s pairing of Manika Batra and Mouma Das.

Prediction: 3 medals – 1 Silver (Men’s Team), 2 Bronze (Women’s Team, One Doubles Pair)


Weightlifting

Mirabai Chanu is the favourite to win gold.
Mirabai Chanu is the favourite to win gold.

India has sent out a strong contingent where they will be participating in 15 out of 16 categories. The sure-shot gold medallist is none other than the world champion Saikhom Mirabai Chanu in Women’s 48kg. In 2017 CWG Weightlifting Championship, India won 5 gold medals. With the experience of Sathish, Venkat and Sanjita, the weightlifting team can easily win more than 10 medals in upcoming

Prediction: 12 medals – 4 Gold (Sathish in M77, Venkat in M85, Mirabai in W48, Sanjita in W53), 5 Silver (Gururaja in M56, Deepak Lather in M69, Pardeep in M105, Vandna in W63, Seema in W75), 3 Bronze (Vikas Thakur in M94, Gurdeep in M+105, Punam in W69)


Wrestling

There will be high hopes pinned on Vinesh Phogat.
There will be high hopes pinned on Vinesh Phogat.

CWG has reduced the number of weight categories from 14 to 12. Last time at Glasgow, we won 13 out of 14 possible medals but won only 5 golds. This time we will be eyeing all 12 medals with more gold.

Our women wrestlers will be leading the charge with huge expectation on them after impressive performance in recently concluded Asian Championship. Their biggest challenge will come from the Canadians. Vinesh, Sakshi and Babita Phogat are where the huge expectations lie, along with Divya, Pooja and Kiran.

The men’s team will be lead by two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar along with experienced campaigners Bajrang and Rahul Aware. The other wrestlers in the team are Somveer, Mausam and Sumit

Prediction: 12 medals – 7 Gold (Rahul in M57, Bajrang in M65, Sushil in M74, Vinesh in W50, Babita in W53, Sakshi in W62, Kiran in W76), 3 Silver (Somveer in M86, Sumit in M125, Divya in W68), 2 Bronze (Mausam in M97, Pooja in W57)

No medals

Basketball, Lawn bowls, Swimming

TOTAL – 70 Medals – 25 Gold, 21 Silver, 24 Bronze

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