The 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham from July 28 and run until August 8. The mega multi-sport event will host athletes from across the Commonwealth of Nations. The quadrennial event which began in 1930 was called the “British Empire Games” until 1934.
India debuted in the second edition of the competition in 1934 and have participated regularly except in 1930, 1950, 1962 and 1986. India’s current CWG medal tally consists of 181 gold medals, 173 silver and 149 bronze. Wrestler Rashid Anwar was the first Indian to medal at the Commonwealth Games by winning a bronze medal in the men’s 74kg freestyle wrestling.
However, the first editions were not successful for the country as medals were rare until 1958 when things started to look up.
Legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh became the first athlete to win a gold medal for the nation at the Commonwealth Games, taking first place in the men’s 440-yard event at Cardiff in 1958. In the same edition, the India won another heavyweight gold medal. wrestler Lila Ram was crowned champion in the men’s 100 kg freestyle category.
The growth of Indian wrestling in the 1970s and 1980s contributed significantly to improving the country’s fortunes at the Commonwealth Games. Of the country’s 503 medals so far, 102 medals have come from wrestling. From Mukhtiar Singh to Sushil Kumar, the list of Indian wrestlers to shine at the CWG is quite long.
After the wrestlers came the Indian weightlifters and won many awards for the country with Raghavan Chandrasekaran proving to be the best of the crop. The Olympian won two gold medals at the 1990 CWG and followed that up with three silver medals at the 1994 edition in Canada.
In recent years, shooters have become India’s stars and have amassed the most medals for the nation at the Games. With 15 medals including nine gold, four silver and two bronze, pistol shooter Jaspal Rana was India’s most successful athlete at the Commonwealth Games. The sniper ruled the shooting circuit in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Indian shooters were instrumental in India’s best performance at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, hosted by New Delhi. India won a whopping total of 101 medals, including 39 gold medals, 26 silver medals and 36 bronze medals. India scored their first ever podium with a second place finish in the medal standings.
India has consistently been among the top five countries in the medal table since the 2000s and is now a force to be reckoned with at the Commonwealth Games. The Indian contingent has a star-studded line-up with Neeraj Chopra, Hima Das and Mirabai Chanu to name a few. Athletes will be looking to extend their purple crest and pick up medals at Birmingham 2022.
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