GOLD COAST: After some unpleasant experiences off the field, the Indian contingent, with many talented millennials in the squad, would look to challenge Australia in their own backyard as the curtains go up on the XXI Commonwealth Games in this bustling tourist hub on the coast in Queensland.
Led by flag bearer PV Sindhu, the Olympic silver medallist, India would be looking to better their performance at Glasgow. Adding to the glitter of the Indian contingent is the presence of double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and London Olympics bronze medallists Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal and Gagan Narang. At the grand opening, the Indian squad would also be sporting their new attire.
Competing along the star cast would be a number of young shooters who have taken the world by storm in recent months. All eyes would be on Delhi girl Manu Bhaker as she competes alongside seasoned campaigner Heena Sidhu.
“For the first time we are expecting a medal in all the events we are competing. It’s a really good side but everything depends on the day’s performance,” rifle coach Randhir Singh told TOI.
INDIA VS PAKISTAN IN HOCKEY
The all-important rivalry in men’s hockey – India vs Pakistan will be the most watched event in the first week. “The tickets for this match were sold out a few hours after the online ticket window opened,” a fan said as he desperately looked for a chance to get in to watch the action.
The fact that Pakistan is now coached by former India coach Roelant Oltmans will be an added incentive for Sreejesh and Co. to put on their best show. Away from hockey, India’s chances in the blue riband athletics event would be limited. In junior world record holder Neeraj Chopra the country has a potential champion who needs to be nurtured. “It is my first big Games and I would like to do my best,” Chopra said. “I’m training hard and hopefully I’ll be able to give it my best shot,” the Haryana youngster added.
Besides boxing, weightlifting and wrestling are two other sports where India will start as strong contenders. After Sushil, all hopes would be on Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia. Source : timesofindia