Gold Coast will play host to the 21st edition of the Commonwealth Games, previously known as the British Empire Games, are being held. The Games are attended by countries constituting the Commonwealth of Nations, which in turn, is made up of those nations which were once governed under the British flag.
India, who hosted the Games in 2010, has been a part of the Commonwealth from the very beginning, although their first appearance came in the second edition of the Games. Under the British empire at that time, India finished its first-ever campaign with just one bronze medal in totality, finishing 12th.
India had to wait 24 years to win another medal at the Games when they were held in Cardiff, Wales. Participating as a free nation for just the second time, India capped off a decent display finishing 8th in the table, winning 3 medals overall. War with China kept India out of the Games when they were held in Perth in 1962. Competing after an 8-year absence, India again finished 8th in 1966 and would follow that performance by finishing 6th in the following four editions of the CWG.
India's record kept on improving over the years. As more countries started entering the Games, India would consolidate their position on the table even though the number of medals increased each year.
The turn of the century would bring more delight to the Indian hearts. India performed strongly in 2002 and 2006 Games, finishing 4th in both the editions. However, these achievements were often overlooked by the fact that the nation couldn't repeat the same feat at the Olympic Games.
2010 was the biggest year in the history of Indian sports as the Games came to India for the first time. New Delhi was chosen to be the host city for the 19th edition of the CWG. Huge crowds turned up to support the native athletes in what turned out to be the best performance of the country by a country mile. India finished the Games with 101 medals, finishing 2nd, ahead of their once subjugators England.
However, India's brilliant performance was overshadowed by the widespread corruption that overtook every aspect of the Commonwealth Games. The New Delhi Games was highly criticized by politicians, activists, and the general public. The public was critical of the fact that billions of dollars were spent on the Games but still, several compromises and shortcuts were taken by the organizing committee in the construction of venues. The venues themselves were not ready on time and the ticket sales before the events were abysmal. Slowly, brightest day in the history of Indian sports would turn to its darkest hour.
Still recovering from the evils of 2010, India went to Glasgow in 2014 hoping to put on the same level of performance that saw them finish 2nd in the previous edition of the Games. The spirit of 2010 couldn't be matched and neither did the performances. India came back home with almost forty medals less than 2010 and finished 5th in the overall medal tally, behind England, Australia, Canada, and Scotland.
Barring cricket, India is still in a transition phase when it comes to sport. There is immense talent in the country but still, there is some way to go in terms of turning that raw talent into more defined performances at an international stage. We've surely taken off but are still far from the destination. As always, the preparations are in full swings as the Gold Coast Games are just on the periphery. Although the performances over the years have been inconsistent, there is always hope that the next edition of the Games help India form an identity in the world of sports.Published 01 Apr 2018, 15:37 IST