NEW DELHI: The spotlight will be on Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra but the likes of Murali Sreeshankar and Avinash Sable are also strong medal contenders as the Indian athletics team eyes its best Commonwealth Games show away from home in the upcoming edition in Birmingham.
Woman javelin thrower Annu Rani and 38-year-old discus thrower Seema Antil, the most decorated Indian at the CWG with three silver and one bronze, could also finish on the podium, while India is expected to win more than one medal in men’s triple jump event.
With several world-class athletes emerging, especially after Chopra won a historic athletics gold in Tokyo Olympics last year, India would be looking for at least half a dozen medals in the July 28 to August 8 Games.
The country’s best athletics medal haul had come at the Delhi CWG in 2010 with 2 gold, 3 silver and 7 bronze. That performance will surely be difficult to match but the Indians would be looking for their second best show ever.
The second best show from the Indian athletics contingent at the CWG till now has been the three-medal hauls (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze each) in the 2014 and 2018 editions.
India’s history at the Commonwealth Games
With all the six finalists in the ongoing World Championships in Eugene, USA, heading to Birmingham where competition will be relatively easier, India would fancy their chances to win a handful of medals.
The country has so far won 28 medals (5 gold, 10 silver, 13 bronze) across editions since the legendary Milkha Singh claimed a gold in men’s 440 yards event in 1958.
Sekar Dhanalakshmi, who was to compete in women’s 100m and 4x100m relay, and Aishwarya Babu, who was to feature in long jump as well as triple jump, were pulled out of the 36-member team after failing dope tests which brought shame to the country.
Dhanalakshmi would not have much chance in 100m but her absence would deal a blow to the women’s 4×100 relay team though India are not medal favourites in the presence of England, Jamaica, Canada and Australia.
Aishwarya could have been a medal contender — for a bronze — with her national mark of 14.14m set at the National Inter-State Championships last month. —PTI