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Gold Coast encouraging, Asian Games will be tough (Column: Just Sport)


For India, the 1990 Auckland is remembered more for weightlifter Subrata Paul testing positive for a banned drug than 32 medals the country won. The entire officialdom was there more to canvass for African support to host the Games in

It took 20 years for to host the Games which will again be remembered for real or imaginary scandals involving the top officials of the (IOA).

Over the years the drug record of the Indian athletes has been terrible, mostly the weightlifters causing the embarrassment. Just when everyone was rejoicing the wonderful performances at Gold Coast, two athletes were sent home for violating the no needle policy of the Federation, though there was no doping involved.

and triple jumper A.had to leave the Games Village in disgrace.

Leave the unsavoury part and see what the stats tell us. India's medal haul at the just-concluded Games is their third highest behind the 2010 New home Games and the one at in 2002.

returned with 26 gold medals, more than the 20 silver and bronze each, adding up to a grand tally of 66, three less than the bag (33 gold, 22 bronze and 17 silver), never mind they were far far behind in third position, Australia, topping with 198, and England ending up with 166.

Actually India have performed much better than they did at whereas the figures reveal only a part of the excellent showing of the athletes.

India won 30 gold at Manchester, but then weihgtlifting used to fetch three gold medals in each weight category -- snatch, cleand and jerk and total while shooting doesn't have the pairs events. Delhi's is a different case with athletes winning in a lot more disiciplines.

Everyone may have put their money on a Nehwal-Pusarla Venkata final, but not many may have thought that the team gold will come their way for the first time. seems to be at her best playing while the latter appears to choke. Still, the odds would have been even.

not playing in the team event and her semifinal against an injured Canadian Michelle Li, who was going through the motions for most part of the match, was not the best of preparation for her. All the same, played like a champion.

told the that their Guru, Pullela Gopichand, told both Sindhu and her that they should treat the match just as as any other game and after the final they are friends.

Few would have backed India to win the table team gold, let alone the tall, lanky Manika Batra winning the singles individual gold, that too beating World No.4 Feng Tianwei from

Manika beat her opponent not once but twice, the first victory paving the way for India to win the team gold. In fact, she won a medal in every event she took part.

The newly-crowned World No.1 Kidambi coud have done a Manika if he had beaten in the singles final after his victory over the Malaysian gave India a crucial point in winning the team gold, though the mixed doubles win by Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa was as important. was right on top to win in the team event in straight games, but Lee hit back after losing the first game in the singles gold medal match.

Another performance worth taking note from the courts is the rise of Satwiksairaj and Chirag Shetty as a doubles pair to take the silver after a gripping final.

In table tennis, three gold medals, two silver and three bronze are a big bonanza, while Dipika Pallikal Karthik won two silver medals in the doubles.

The gold rush was started by the weightlifters who had an impressive haul of five gold, two silver and two bronze, while the wrestlers did better with five gold, three silver and four bronze, with Sushil Kumar proving that he can make a comeback any day and still ewalk away with the gold easily. Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik and Babita Phogat had to settle for silver when they were expected to get gold.

The boxers did well to win three gold, three silver and three bronze medals. was the only Indian woman to win a medal, gold at that. Like Sushil Kumar, Mary has proved that she is still good to get a shot at another Olympic medal in two years from now.

The shooters expectedly lead India's medal standings. Anish Bhanwala, 15, and Manu Bhaker, 16, are the two youngest gold medal winners, while Tejaswini Sawant returned to the podium to take the gold after 12 years after winning it in in 2006. Their kitty is seven gold, four silver and five bronze.

Another yuoungster who created some sensation is by becoming only the fourth Indian to win the gold from track and field, his spat with the (AFI) over his training under a German and not the AFI's head Uwe Hohn, both with top credentials.

All in all, the spread of medals from disciplines is highly encouraging three months ahead of the Asian Games, though the competition in will be a lot tougher in most of the disciplines in which the Indians did so well at

In this euphoria no one seems to have bothered about the performance of the team!

(Veturi Srivatsa is a The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 17 2018. 19:48 IST