After having organized the Asiad Games successfully in 1982 at Delhi, India has been fortunate enough to be honoured by Commonwealth Games Federation to perform the duties of a host nation to the 19th edition of Commonwealth Games scheduled to be inaugurated on October 3, 2010 at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium. The Grand Gala opening ceremony was two-and-half hours duration which was a must-see event for sports lovers all over the world. Initially, these games were organized in different names.
From 1930 to 1950, they were known as British Empire Games. From 1954 to 1966 the games were styled as British Empire and Commonwealth Games. From 1970 to 1974 the games were called British Commonwealth Games and finally from 1978, these games were re-christened as Commonwealth Games. Since then no change has taken place in the nomenclature. The Commonwealth Games are entirely based on Modern Olympic Games pattern. They are conducted and organized regularly after every four years interval.
All rules regulations of Modern Olympic Games apply to Commonwealth Games in letter and spirit. The difference between Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games is that while Olympic Games covers 27 disciplines of competitive sports, Commonwealth Games organisation is holding competition only in 17 sports disciplines. Therefore, Commonwealth Games can justifiably be termed as “Mini Olympics”. Almost 10,000 sportspersons, including coaches and officials from 71 Commonwealth nations, would be in the fray to vie for supremacy in skills, speed, strength and stamina.
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As expected, Australia, Britain and Canada with their biggest contingents of sportspersons would most likely be dominating the present event, but India – the host nation – would not be lagging far behind. India’s prospects at the Games are certainly bright. The host nation is expected to win medals in the following disciplines. Archery and wrestling have been most popular pastime for the population of ancient civilisations of India, Greece and Egypt. These countries have traditionally been producing good archers and wrestlers.
Indian archers have very recently won a gold medal in Archery’s ‘Recurve’ event at Shanghai. The Recurve team of India consisting of Rahul Bannerji, Jayant Taluqedar and Tarun Deep defeated Japan’s Archery team. India’s superiority is fully established in this event and is expected to win at least one gold medal in the discipline. India has had a glamorous past in wrestling too. The country’s famous wrestler, Gama, better known as Rusteme-e-Zama, is said to have participated in London’s unofficial world wrestling Championship in 1930 where he defeated the reigning world champion Czevasko of Russia.
Maintaining the glorious tradition in wrestling, Sudhir Kumar, the present Gama of India, defeated another Russian wrestler in Russia very recently. Besides Sudhir Kumar, there are other wrestlers like Yogeshwer Dutt, Anil Kumar and others who can bring laurels to the country in different weight categories. Chances are galore for India to win several medals in this sport. In boxing event also, India has a good opportunity to win more than one gold medal, besides several silver and bronze medals.
India’s star Boxers are Vijendra Singh, Akhil Kumar, Nanao, Chhote Lal Yadav and Surronjay Singh, who would be definite winners of medals in this sport. Last, but not the least, one must not forget Mary Kom, the mercurial boxer who has won world title for the fifth time. After boxing, shooting is another discipline of sports in which Abhinay Bindra of India has excelled by winning gold medal in 2008 Beijing Olympics. Besides Abhinay Bindra, there are Manav Jeet Sidhhu, Gagan Narang and Tejasvi Sawant who are expected to perform well and add to the tally of medals.
In badminton event the famous Saina Nehwal would be leading the campaign from the front along with Chetan Anand and mixed double pair of Jwala Gutta and Diju to win a gold, silver and bronze medals at Delhi Commonwealth Games. In lawn tennis, India has good chance of winning several medals. There is a renowned doubles pair of Leander Paise and Mahesh Bhupati who are expected to be winners in their event. Sania Mirza is also peaking at the right time to find herself at the podium of victory.
Weight lifting is a tough discipline of sports in which India has excelled in the past. Frontal campaign would be led by VS Rao, Monika Devi, Ravi Kumar and Sonu Chunnu who are expected to win many medals in this sports event. After the disastrous display of hockey at the last World Cup Championship at Delhi, India’s Hockey team, led by a Enterprising captain namely Raj Pal Singh, is said to have been rejuvenated if the recent international exposure is any indication.
India has a good opportunity to salvage its lost prestige at Delhi. On record India’s hockey team appears to be the third best team in present competition, but there are two strong opponents against India- one is Australian hockey team-the current World Champion and other is England’s Hockey team – the European Champion. If India can defeat these teams, it is likely to win a gold medal. Last, but not the least, is the athletics event.
Athletics is said to be the mother of all games in sports, but strangely enough, the present youth of the country is not attracted towards athletics and therefore it is the most neglected discipline in the country. Still there is a hope to win some medals also in this discipline. All in all, Indian sportspersons must take full advantage of the home grounds. I am sure the Indian sports lovers will try their level best to inspire the sportspersons to highest pitch so that they can garner more than 120 medals, surpassing the previous Indian achievement at Commonwealth Games.
It is really disheartening to note that star athletes of the world like Usain Bolt, Olympic and World Champion in 100 and 200 mtrs dash, Asafa Powell, former World Champion of 100mtr sprint and Shelley Ann-Fraser- the women 100 mtr Olympic Champion (All Jamicans) have decided to skip the present Commonwealth Games. Their absence would definitely dampen the spirit of sports lovers of the country. India’s organizational skill is at stake. If we prove our mettle by organising the event successfully and flawlessly the current Common Wealth Games at Delhi, India can legitimately and honourably claim to host the future Olympics at Delhi.
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