With 31 medals (14 gold, 7 silver and 10 bronze) after eight days of competition at the 21st edition of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Gold Coast, India may have strengthened its third position in the medal table at the moment but it is highly unlikely that it will be able to cross its record gold-medal haul of 38 achieved in the 2010 edition here.
At the end of Thursday, India remains a distant third behind Australia (156 medals) and England (87 medals). While Australia has accumulated a massive 63 gold medals, England has 28 champions in its rank. Canada is fourth, accumulating 60 medals (12 gold, 29 silver, 19 bronze).
Though India is going with the pace to overhaul its CWG 2014 haul of 64 medals (15 gold, 30 silver and 64 medals), it seems that reaching close to its 2010 CWG medal haul will be highly unlikely.
At the CWG 2010, India had for the first time crossed the 100-figure mark, earning 101 medals (38 medals, 27 silver and 36 bronze). India's second-best performance at the CWG came in the 2002 edition in Manchester, winning 69 medals (30 gold, 22 silver and 69 bronze).
With three days of competition left in Gold Coast, more gold medals are expected from shooters, boxers, wrestlers, shuttlers and paddlers.
The boxers, nine of them, have already assured the country a medal each by reaching the semi-finals, making it the most successful CWG campaign. Veteran M.C. Mary Kom has already reached the final and will be an overwhelming favourite for the gold medal. Apart from her, Manoj Kumar, Vikas Kumar and Satish Kumar give India a lot of hopes.
Shooters have contributed the most of number of medals, 12, which includes four gold -- won by Manu Bhaker (10m air pistol), Heena Sidhu (25m pistol), Jitu Rai (10m air pistol) and Shreyasi Singh (Doble Trap). The shooters had bagged a total of 30 medals in the CWG 2010, this time they will be aiming at best 20. With events like the trap, rifle three position and to take place in the next three days, India will further swell its medal tally.
The second best discipline for India has been weightlifters, providing nine medals. Saikhom Mirabai Chanu (48 kg), Khumukcham Sanjita Chanu (53kg), Sathish Sivalingam (77kg), Venkat Rahul Ragala (85kg) and Punam Yadav (69kg) were golden candidates in this disciplines.
Wrestlers swelled India's medal tally on Thursday, with four of them Sushil Kumar (74kg), Rahul Aware (57kg) winning a gold each, while women grapplers Babita Kumari (53kg) and Kiran (68kg) claiming a silver and a bronze respectively. Five wrestlers ar still to compete and India has high hopes from them.
The men's and the women's table tennis teams delighted the country with both sides winning gold medal in the same edition for the first time. Achanta Sharath Kamal, Harmeet Desai, G. Sathiyan, Manika Batra and Mouma Das have done well and are expected to do well in the singles and doubles actions.
India also has high expectations from its shttlers, who already have secured a first-ever gold in the mixed team championship here. P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, H.S. Prannoy and the women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy will also deliver medals in the individual and the doubles competitions.
In athletics, Seema Punia and Navjeet Dhillon clinched the silver and bronze medal respectively in the women's discuss throw to open India's its account in the athletics competition. Moreover, there are high hopes from javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and the relay times. Muhammed Anas came close to a historic bronze but finished fourth, while 20km race-walker Khurbir Kaur was also fourth and 400m Hima Das was sixth -- in three superb performances.
The hockey teams have also delivered good performance. While the men's team will meet New Zealand in the semi-final, the women's team will meet England in the bronze-medal playoff after losing to Australia in the semi-finals on Thursday.
In squash, the singles stars have dissappointed but the Joshna Chinnappa and Dipika Pallikal are still in contention in the women's doubles -- as is the mixed doubles pair of Dipika and Saurav Ghosal.
India didn't had high hopes from its basketball teams and they hardly put in a performance that can elevate their low status.
(Abhishek Purohit can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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