CWG 2018: What next for the Medal Winners?
After an excellent performance at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, India prepare for tougher challenges ahead. The Asian Games is the next big quadrennial event Indian athletes will participate in. The Games are scheduled to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia from the 18th of August to the 2nd of September.
In terms of medals earned by India at every Commonwealth Games, this was India's third highest tally. In the 2002 Manchester Games, India returned with 69 medals, and Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 saw India earn 101 medals. However, take nothing away from the Indian athletes who participated at the Gold Coast Games.
This edition did not have Archery, Judo and quite a few events in Shooting and Weightlifting which definitely means the tally of 66 could have touched the three-figure mark again. The Indians thoroughly dominated Badminton and Shooting at the Games. Young guns like Anish Banwala, Mehuli Ghosh and Manu Bhaker were refreshing to see and they only indicate the depth of talent India has in shooting.
However, none of these medal-winning athletes are resting on their laurels. All of them are back in training, attending national camps or are already on their way to the next international tournament.
Stellar performance calls for accolades and applause
After a stellar showing at the Commonwealth Games, the Indian athletes are on a high. But where do these medalists go from here? India had 66 medals to show for, 70 Indian athletes who won medals and a total of 217 at Gold Coast. Manika Batra came home as the most decorated athlete with two golds, one silver and one bronze.
India can also be proud of the fact that out of the 70 medal winners, 41 of them won gold. Often is the case that after the Games, we tend to see athletes being honoured with cash rewards and prizes by the Federations and the respective States. The Prime Minister is scheduled to felicitate all the medal winners at his residence on the 30th of April.
Asian Games: Next Target For Team
After CWG, the Indian athletes would have set their sights firmly on the Asian Games. The Games are scheduled to be held in Jakarta, Indonesi,a from the 18th of August to the 2nd of September.
The Indian athletes are set to face stiff competition in events like Badminton, Table Tennis and Weightlifting where they won a lot of medals at the CWG. The pool will have Olympic giants China besides Iran, Korea, Japan and Kazakhstan.
India finished 8th in the Incheon Asian Games, 2014 with 57 medals (11 Golds, 10 Silvers and 36 Bronze). Therefore, this time the Indians will look to make amends so that they can convert those Bronze medals into Gold.
How are they planning to bring national glory?
But where are the athletes headed to after the Commonwealth Games? For some, it might be back to hitting the training ground, for others, it might be about playing the next tournament.
A lot of these athletes will have off-seasons too, so that their bodies recover from injuries and exertion. We take a look at their next tournament/training scheduled in the build-up to the Asian Games.
Table Tennis Men's Team - Achanta, Sathiyan, Anthony, Harmeet and Sanil will head for the World TT Team Championships, Halmstad, Sweden (23rd April to 6th May). They are seeded 13th. The Men are in Group D of 4 groups alongside France, Korea and Austria and relatively easy opponents in Poland and Croatia.
Table Tennis Women's Team - Manika and Mouma will lead the campaign for the women in the World TT Team Championships, Halmstad, Sweden (23rd April to 6th May). They are seeded 16th. The women are faced with an uphill task as they are in Group A alongside Olympic champions China. The other teams in the group are Singapore, Russia, Belarus and Sweden.
Squash Team - Dipika Palikal, Saurav Ghoshal, and Joshana Chinappa will be training in Egypt from the 18-24th April with Egyptian squash coach Achraf El Karargui.
Para Powerlifting - Sachin Chaudhury will train in his hometown of Meerut.
Wrestling - All the wrestlers are attending the National Camp till 15th of May 2018. The Men’s Camp is at SAI Sonepat. The Women’s Camp is at SAI Lucknow.
Weightlifters - The weightlifters will attend the National Camp at NIS Patiala till the 30th of April, 2018.
Boxing - The Boxers are set to attend a camp from the 1st to the 18th of May at the Michael Johnson Performance Academy Training Center at USA. Only 52kg Gold medalist Gaurav Solanki will not attend the camp in USA as would train in SAI Patiala.
Shooting - All the shooting medalists will participate in the ISSF World Cup in Korea until the 30th of April, 2018, barring Double Trap shooter Ankur Mittal, who will be training in Delhi. Shahar Rizvi has already won the Silver in the 10m Men's Air Pistol in the ongoing World Cup.
Badminton - Most of them will have taken a break or preparing at the Gopichand Academy in preparation for the Asian Badminton Championships 2018 in China. India have become a powerhouse in Badminton, and will face familiar foes Malaysia and Singapore, besides high-fliers China and Japan. It remains to be seen if all the teams send in their best players or give them rest keeping in mind the upcoming Asian Games.
Athletics - While Gold medalist Neeraj Chopra and bronze medalist Navjeet Dhillon will train in NIS Patiala, Seema Punia will try to improve on her silver in Russia with coach Vitaliy Pischalnikov.
Indian Hockey - The Men's and Women's Hockey Team missed out on the Bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games to England. The Women crashed to a 0-6 loss, whereas the men crashed to a 1-2 loss in the bronze medal matches. The Women's team head to Donghae City, Korea, to face the might of the continent in the 5th Women's Asian Championship Trophy from the 13th to the 20th of May.
The Men's Hockey team have a breather, they are et to participate in the Rabobank Men's Hockey Champions Trophy in Breda (The Netherlands) from the 23rd of June to the 1st of July, 2018. The Men's Team are currently 6th in the world and the Women's Team are ranked 10th.
While the best of all the continents will be on display at the Champions Trophy, the Women will be up against higher ranked opponents China and Korea in the Asian assignment.