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Watch Out for these Indians at CWG 2018, Gold Coast, Australia

Profiling some of the top stars and dark horses that India would hope to see on the medal podium.

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GOLD COAST (Australia): The 21st Commonwealth Games got underway at Gold Coast in Australia today with athletes from 71 nations sweating it out for a medal.

The Indian performance has generally been satisfactory lately in the competition, with the nation standing fourth in the all-time medal tally.

But this time, the hopes are the highest that we have ever had – and that is because of the strength of the individuals who have travelled to Australia.

Here are some of the top stars and dark horses that India would hope to see on the medal podium at the event:

Manu BHAKER, the Wonder Girl:

The toast of the nation currently, this 16-year-old has been nothing short of sensational with two gold medals (individual and team) in her maiden senior World Cup in Mexico just weeks ago. She would be lining up alongside veteran champion Heena in the 10m air pistol event.

Heena SIDHU, the Champion:

On 7 April 2014, Sidhu became the first Indian pistol shooter to reach number one in world rankings by the International Shooting Sports Federation. In 2013, Sidhu became the first Indian pistol shooter to win a gold medal in an ISSF World Cup finals when she won the 10-metre air pistol event. In 2014, Sidhu was the World record holder in the 10-metre air pistol event with a final score of 203.8. Sidhu is right handed and is right eye dominant.

The feisty pistol shooter from Punjab is in fine form going into the Games, having claimed three gold medals at the Commonwealth Championships a few months ago. She will be competing in the women’s 25m pistol and 10m air pistol competitions.

Jitu RAI, the Mr Consistent:

Jitu Rai is an Indian shooter of Nepali origin who competes in the 10-metre air pistol and 50-metre pistol events. The government of India announced Khel Ratna Award for him in 2016.

The diminutive Army shooter is a strong medal hope and would be aiming for a second successive CWG gold in the men’s 50m pistol event. The 30-year-old will also try his fortunes in the 10m air pistol competition and a medal in Gold Coast would help heal some of the disappointment of his Olympic failure in 2016 Rio Games.

India is second in the CWG’s all-time medal list for shooting and it is expected that these Indian stars will once again be contributing a bountiful of medals.

Saina NEHWAL, the Original Queen:

Still regaining her fitness after a career-threatening knee surgery, 2010 gold-medallist and former World No 1 Saina would be a strong contender too if she manages to remain fit during the event, which she missed in 2014 owing to injuries.

PV SINDHU, the Current Heartthrob:

The Olympic silver-medallist is being seen as a sure-shot medallist. She won a bronze in the last edition and the world No.3 looks set to change the colour of the medal when she takes the court this time.

Kidambi SRIKANTH, the Gutsy Challenger:

Srikanth shot to prominence by defeating Olympic Champion Lin Dan in 2014 China Open Super Series Premier by 21–19 21–17 in the final round, thus becoming the first Indian to win a Super Series Premier Men’s title.

In the absence of an injured Kashyap, Srikanth would be India’s men’s singles medal hope and he would aim to do better than the quarterfinal finish of the 2014 Games.

A gold by P Kashyap was the icing on the cake as the shuttlers returned with four medals from Glasgow. This time, the expectations are even higher, with a star-studded lineup set to take the court.

Sushil KUMAR, the Son of the Mat:

The gold-medallist from 2014 is making a comeback to big-ticket wrestling after an injury-hampered and controversy-filled two years. The double Olympic medallist would be aiming for another gold when he competes in 74kg men’s freestyle event.

Vinesh PHOGAT, the Dhaakad Haryanvi Girl:

2014 Gold medallist, Vinesh suffered a career-threatening injury at the Rio Olympics but she returned to win a silver medal (55kg) at the Asian Championship and claimed the gold at National Championships. She would be a medal contender when she competes in 50kg this time.

Sakshi MALIK, the Bubbly Tigress:

At the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won the bronze medal in the 58 kg category, becoming the first Indian female wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics and the fourth female Olympic medalist from the country.

The Rio bronze-medallist has been in good form and would be expected to better the silver medal she claimed at the Glasgow Games. She would be in action in the 62kg freestyle event.

India are second in the CWG all-time medal list of wrestling and are expected to dominate this time around as well.

Vikas Krishan YADAV, the Silent Slayer:

Belonging to the boxing nursery of Bhiwani district in Haryana, Yadav won a gold medal in the 2010 Asian Games in the Lightweight category. Due to the ban on the Boxing Federation of India in 2015, Vikas competed at the Worlds and Asian Championships under the AIBA flag.

One of India’s just four men’s world medallists, Vikas has come here after claiming a gold at the prestigious Strandja Memorial Tournament in Bulgaria in February. Vikas will be making his debut at the Games and would be a strong contender in the 75kg division.

Amit PANGHAL, Who Moves Like a Butterfly:

Another Haryana boy, Amit Panghal is an Indian amateur boxer. He won the bronze medal at the 2017 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships in the light flyweight category.

The diminutive light flyweight 49kg boxer is also a debutant but one with quite a bit of experience of competing on the big stage. He was a quarterfinalist at last year’s world championships and won a bronze at the Asian Championships. Amit had claimed a gold at the Strandja Memorial earlier this year.

Mary KOM, the Ageless Warrior:

A huge name not just in India boxing but also in international boxing, the 35-year-old Mary Kom would be, believe it or not, making her CWG debut here! The five-time world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist is a favourite to pick up the 48kg gold and make her first and last CWG a memorable affair.

There was no gold to show in the last edition. Worse, the “syringes controversy” here, even before the games begin, hasn’t done them any good here. But the Indians are among the strongest boxing contingents.

Seema PUNIA, Dhaakad Girl of the Athletics Field:

The discus thrower, who claimed a silver in the Glasgow Games, would be eyeing a golden end to her CWG stint. The 34-year-old achieved two-year best when she threw to 61.05m, which was also a meet record at the Federation Cup last month. It remains to be seen whether the Asian Games champion can get the better of the defending gold-medallist and home favourite Dani Stevens and finish on top.

Neeraj CHOPRA, Runs with Expectations on His Shoulders:

Neeraj Chopra won a gold medal in 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He also set a world junior record.

He won the gold medal at the 2016 South Asian Games with a throw of 82.23 m, which equalled the Indian national record.

The 20-year-old javelin thrower would be a carrying a massive burden of expectations and it remains to be seen how he responds to the spotlight. At the senior world championships in London some months ago, the junior world record-holder failed to qualify for the finals. A gold at last year’s Asian Championships is his biggest achievement going into his maiden CWG.

Tejaswin SHANKAR, the Elegant Leap:

A Tamilian from New Delhi, Tejaswin Shankar played cricket until eighth grade before his physical education teacher suggested him to switch to high jump.

The 19-year-old high-jumper bettered his own national record marginally at the Federation Cup last month. He improved it from 2.26m to 2.28m. He can be considered a strong medal hope, going by the results of the previous Games where the silver-medallist had jumped 2.28m.

Athletics gave India a gold, silver and a bronze in the 2014 CWG.

Dipika PALLIKAL and Joshna CHINNAPPA, the Numero Uno Duo of Indian Squash:

A women’s doubles gold in 2014 opened India’s CWG account in squash and Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinnappa would once again look to ensure that India have something to celebrate but it remains to be seen whether a singles medal will come along too from either of the two and Sourav Ghosal in the men’s singles.

Saikhom Mirabai CHANU, the Manipuri Hercules:

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu won the Gold medal in the 48 kg category at 2017 World Weightlifting Championships held in Anaheim, United States .

Earlier she had won medals in Commonwealth games and silver medal in the women’s 48 kg weight class at the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow, where the gold medal was won by another Indian Khumukcham Sanjita.

The World Champion, with a Commonwealth record under her belt, and a personal best which is 10kg better than her nearest rival at this event, is expected to open the gold rush for India.

Go INDIA!

Do let us know if we have missed any other top medal prospects. 

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AGENTS OF CHANGE

Jhulan Goswami Honoured with Commemorative Stamp for 200 ODI Wkts

Jhulan remains to be one of the pillars of the Indian women’s cricket team, despite having her ODI debut in 2002.

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KOLKATA (West Bengal): A postage stamp, featuring Goswami’s mugshot in India colours next to an image of Kolkata’s iconic Victoria Memorial, has been issued in honour of her claiming a record 200 wickets in women’s ODIs.

The unveiling of the stamp took place on Friday at the Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club, in the presence of former India men’s captain Sourav Ganguly.

Adjudged the ICC Women’s Player of Year award in 2007, Goswami, 35, recently became the first female player to pick up 200 ODI wickets when she had Laura Wolvaardt caught behind in the third ODI during India’s tour of South Africa in February.

In May 2017, Goswami found her 181st ODI wicket in South Africa’s Raisibe Ntozakhe, during the Quadrangular series, and surpassed Australia’s Cathryn Fitzpatrick as the leading wicket-taker in the format. During the same tour, Goswami pipped Charlotte Edwards and Lydia Greenway to the honour of the most catches by a non-wicketkeeper in women’s ODIs.

The recognition was lauded by fellow professionals from across the world. Former Australian woman cricketer Lisa Sthalekar was one of the first ones to react on Twitter:

Jhulan remains to be one of the pillars of the Indian women’s cricket team, despite having her ODI debut in 2002.

Interestingly, former Indian skipper Kapil Dev was the first cricketer ever to claim 200 ODI wickets. Even Kapil Dev took 166 matches to achieve the feat.

She had joined the Indian women’s cricket team back in 2002 against England, almost a week before her Test debut against the same team. In 2007, she was announced as a part of the Asia squad in the Afro-Asia tournament in India. A year later, Jhulan was named the captain of India for the then tour of Australia. Her captaincy stint lasted for just 25 games.

In 2010 she received the Arjuna Award. Two years hence, the 35-year-old was honoured with the Padam Shri.

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SPORT-ENTERTAINMENT

Indian Women Win All 7 Golds at 8th South Asian Judo Championship in Lalitpur, Nepal

In the men’s section, India won three gold medals.

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LALITPUR (Nepal): In a glittering performance Indian women made a clean sweep at 8th South Asian Judo Championship in Lalitpur, Nepal. India won all 7 Gold Medals in women’s section.

India’s Garima Chaudhary won gold in 70 kg. She defeated Farina Khanam of Bangladesh in the final.

In 78 kg category, Jina Devi won gold by beating Punam Shrestha of Nepal.

Tulika Maan won 7th gold for the country. She defeated Milani Silva of Sri Lanka in 78+ kg.

In the men’s section, India won 3 gold medals.

Divesh won the first gold for the country. He defeated Sanjay Maharajan of Nepal in the final of -81 kg.

Vijay Kumar Yadav won gold in -60 kg beating Milinda Senevirathne of Sri Lanka in the final.

The last gold for India was won by Ajay Yadav in -73 kg. He defeated Sanjit Dongol of Nepal in the final. Indian men also got one bronze medal today.

Indian women had won 4 gold while men bagged two bronze the first day of the championship on yesterday. The team events will be held tomorrow.

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SPORT-ENTERTAINMENT

Madhya Pradesh Wins the Most ‘Film Friendly State’ Award

Uttarakhand gets a ‘Special Mention Certificate’ while the jury lauded continuing efforts of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat towards creating a film-friendly ecosystem.

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MUMBAI (Maharashtra): The Most Film Friendly State Award was announced today by the Chairman of the Jury Ramesh Sippy. The Most Film Friendly State Awards would be presented by Hon’ble President of India on May 3, 2018, during the presentation of the National Film Awards.

State of Madhya Pradesh won the award for the Most Film Friendly State for its efforts towards easing filming in the State by creating a well-structured website, film-friendly infrastructure, offering incentives, maintaining databases, undertaking marketing and promotional initiatives, unanimously by the Jury from among the 16 States that participated.

Madhya Pradesh also received positive feedback from established filmmakers who have shot there. The efforts taken by the State to present their case for the Awards were also appreciated.

The state of Uttarakhand is given a Special Mention Certificate to recognize the efforts made by the State of Uttarakhand towards creating a film-friendly environment.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Ramesh Sippy Chairman of the Jury said “The Jury members laud the continuing efforts of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat towards creating a film-friendly ecosystem in their States and hope that they keep up the good work.

Akshay Kumar starrer superhit film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha was shot extensively in Hoshangabad of Madhya Pradesh (File Photo)

This year Madhya Pradesh, where a lot of filmmakers have shot over the years, has won the award due to the ease of filming that the State offers along with excellent on ground support and filming infrastructure, an informative website and incentives for filmmaking.

The Madhya Pradesh entry was also presented beautifully with all required documents given in a very comprehensive manner.

In addition, the jury would like to acknowledge the sincere efforts made by Uttarakhand in this direction, despite it being a relatively new State with a difficult terrain and hence has been given the Special Mention.”

The jury for selecting the Most Film Friendly State Award 2017 was chaired by acclaimed filmmaker Ramesh Sippy and comprising of renowned filmmakers, Nagraj Manjule, Raja Krishna Menon, Vivek Agnihotri, and Uday Singh, MD, Motion Picture Distributors Association.

Names of the States that Participated in the ‘Most Film Friendly State Award 2017’:

  1. Andaman and Nicobar
  2. Delhi
  3. Gujarat
  4. Karnataka
  5. Kerala
  6. Madhya Pradesh
  7. Maharashtra
  8. Mizoram
  9. Odisha
  10. Punjab
  11. Rajasthan
  12. Sikkim
  13. Telangana
  14. Tripura
  15. Uttarakhand
  16. Uttar Pradesh
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