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It’s all Gold at Gold Coast

Their heart swells with happiness after struggle, strife and sweat flash victory. It is a proud feeling to stand on the podium to receive a medal for the country. The mission has finally been accomplished after the fall of first bit of national anthem followed by receiving a thundering ovation from the crowd. And Indian sports brought stupendous success at XXI Commonwealth Games 2018 that has brought cheers to 1.25 billion people. With 66 medals (26 Gold 20 Silver 20 Bronze) our nation reached the third position behind Australia and England in the medal table. The success story has begun with Shooting (7 4 5), Wrestling (5 3 4), Weightlifting (5 2 2), Boxing (3 3 3), Table Tennis (3 2 3), Badminton (2 3 1), Athletics (1 1 1), Squash (0 2 0) and Para Power Lifting (0 0 1). At CWG Glasgow 2014 Scotland, our rank was 5th with a total of 64 medals (15 30 19). Surprisingly at CWG New Delhi 2010, we reached the second position with 101 medals (38 27 36).
After the Olympic, the CWG is the second most important multi-sport event in the world. A total of 71 teams from 50 countries belonging to the Commonwealth of Nations are eligible for participation in this event. It was originally called the British Empire and Commonwealth Games (1950-1962) and British Commonwealth games (1966-1974). However it had finally been changed to Commonwealth Games to connect to the decolonization and dissolution of the British Empire. After disintegration of British Empire, CWG is being initiated to maintain influence in its former colonies. It’s like ping-pong democracy between US and China in 1970s to renew diplomatic relations.
There are significance factors reflected at Gold Coast, Australia. Indian daughters have shown brave attempt in respective games with 35 medals. Being a mother of three children, the journey of MC Mary Kom is remarkable with a Gold again. In India, cricket is the most watched sport but the rise Badminton and Boxing have delighted the countrymen that there is much more beyond Cricket. The stupendous success of shuttlers from Saina Nehwal(G) to PV Sindhu (S) and K Srikanth (S) on the global stage has brought world attention. But those success stories have not just come easily. The inspiring story of India’s rise in badminton world can be credited to Pulella Gopichand who has changed the face of the sport in our country. For him rising the tricolour at the podium is a big thing. There cannot be a bigger motivation than that.
Can India dream big for Olympics in the future? And with the world class infrastructure at home, India plan to send a satisfactory contingent for a medal hopes at Tokyo 2020. Khelo India is a part of the revamped National Programme for development of sports that aims to strengthen the network by promoting mass participation and promotion of excellence in sports.  This watershed movement in the history of Indian sports will act as an avenue for identification of budding sports talent to promote gender equity and social inclusiveness. Khelo India has already been shined. And two talented girls from Khelo India participated with a Gold by Manu Bhanker in 10m Air Pistol event. Despite hardship and being disciplined soldier, Indian armed forces have made us proud with 10 medals.
First time India has made steady progress in Table Tennis with a result. This tremendous potential needs to be projected at a global platform. It’s time we inspire young talent to realise India becoming a sports super power in the upcoming years. Should India follow Chinese success as sporting superpower? The huge foundation during 2008 Beijing Olympics and peoples’ participation made it possible to create a massive billion dollar sports industry there. India must show to the world that it can deliver sporting ambitions by investing in the line with the goal. Shooting, Wrestling, Weightlifting and Boxing are India’s strength at global event. Haryana government has encouraged big cash for medal winners at CWG. India has a poor record in Athletics and Swimming. When 19 years Hima Das from Assam compete with all African sprinters at 400m final that proved athletics is anybody’s game. This will certainly beneficial for those athletics to compete with global events. Also it will focus on nurturing sports talent in the country and connecting rural India to global games. Swimming has lot many medals but India failed to enter any water games.
The heart and soul of Indian football is in the North East. With no big sponsors for NE players, the government has to create infrastructure as well as national centre for excellence with elite facilities for this hilly region. We have to raise the aspiration levels of our kids to aim for Man United or Bayern Munich. When little known Jalandhar turns hub for sports good industries across India, can North East aspires for Sports Capital Region of India? In the past, artistic gymnast Dipa Karmakar made history at the Rio Olympic. Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh turned professional with stunning success. PT Usha was one of the most iconic athletes of track and field. They have won from individual championships to world championships. India’s economic growth is in the true direction. The potential corporate sponsors will certainly watch with the government’s promises. The rise of GDP and population can turn Indian sport into a multimillion dollar business in the future.  With right direction from Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, this will certainly harness the immense power of youth for holistic development of the individual, the community and the nation as well.
   -Kamal Baruah
    Guwahati-22

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Ankur Kalita