Commonwealth Games 2022: Top 10 controversies at CWG Birmingham

CWG 2022: Here are top 10 controversies at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham which finished on August 8.

The Commonwealth Games 2022, which ran from July 28 to August 8 had its fair share of controversies regarding several issues such as medal decisions and nationality.

The Commonwealth Games 2022, which ran from July 28 to August 8 had its fair share of controversies regarding several issues such as medal decisions and nationality. | Photo Credit:

CWG 2022: Here are top 10 controversies at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham which finished on August 8.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham was one of the most successful campaigns for India, with it winning 22 gold, 16 silver and 23 bronze medals.

Australia finished on the top of the medals tally with 176 medals (67 gold, 57 silver, 54 bronze), followed by England at 174 (57 gold, 66 silver, 53 bronze). India finished fourth with 61 medals in total.

But the multi-sport event was not without controversies, be it the penalty retaken by Australia in the women’s hockey semifinal or Aussie cyclist Matthew Glaetzer stripped off his bronze in men’s sprint.

Here are 10 controversies at the Birmingham Games

1. Australia’s first penalty, saved by India, flagged off in the Women’s Hockey semifinal

The penalty shootout in India’s semifinal clash against Australia in the women’s hockey semifinal at the Commonwealth Games was embroiled in controversy.

A goal each from Rebecca Greiner (Australia) and Vandana Katariya (India) had taken the match to penalties. Australia began the shootout and Ambrosia Malone missed the goal the first time.

READ | Why was Australia’s first missed penalty shot retaken in hockey semifinal vs India at CWG 2022

However, she got an opportunity to retake the shot as the umpires had failed to start the clock before her first attempt. She scored the second time. India, eventually, lost the match 0-3 on penalties.

“I think their focus might have been affected by it. It’s not an excuse, but I think it did have an effect,” Janneke Schopman, the current head coach said, after the match.

2. Tahlia McGrath plays despite testing COVID-19 positive, Indian players sit out

Australian allrounder Tahlia McGarth took the field in the gold medal match against India despite testing positive Covid-19 hours before the game.

Tahlia bowled two overs in the match and caught Shafali Verma, raising questions about the CWG orgainsers Covid protocols.

One of India’s crucial fast-bowlers Pooja Vastrakar had missed India’s first two games – including a group game against Australia – after testing Covid positive.

Para Athlete Aneesh Pillai, a 2019 Military World Games gold-medallist, was also ruled out of the Birmingham Games after a positive Covid test. He was supposed to compete in the F44 para-discus final.

3. Sreeshakar’s fourth attempt in the long jump red-flagged

After making three jumps well short of the foul line, Sreeshankar, the national record holder and gold medal favourite for the long jump competition in Birmingham, was in sixth place with a best of 7.84m.

His fourth attempt, which looked to be in the 8.20m range, was declared a foul. Sreeshankar had breached the foul line by one cm. As he saw the replay of where his take-off foot landed on the foul line, Sreeshankar was left aghast.

The confusion over the legality of Sreeshankar’s jump comes due to a change in the way fouls are judged in the horizontal jumps.

Until very recently, a no-jump in the triple and long jump was called when an athlete was judged to have touched the ground beyond the take-off line.

To assist in the decision a plasticine strip was used. This strip was laid down at an angle of 45 degrees from the take-off board. Theoretically, if an athlete crossed the take off-line, he would leave a mark on the plasticine. But in reality, because of the angle, it was noticed that on occasions, the toecaps of athletes visibly breached the take-off line without marking the plasticine.

(Excerpts from an article published in Sportstar on August 5, 2022)

4. Northern Ireland Gymnasts fight for identity at the Commonwealth Games

Northern Ireland Gymnasts fight for identity at the Commonwealth Games

Three Northern Ireland gymnasts – Rhys McClenaghan, Eamon Montgomery and Ewan McAteer – were barred by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) when they decided to represent Northern Ireland at the CWG 2022.

The trio was licensed under Ireland and has represented the same on the International stage multiple times. But, since Ireland has not participated as a team in the Commonwealth Games since 1938, it decided to go with NIR instead of England — a decision that resulted in the ban.

The decision was later overturned and McClenaghan, one of the three, went on to win a silver medal in Men’s Pommel Horse.

5. Poonam Yadav’s third ‘No Lift’ in clean and jerk

Indian weightlifter Poonam Yadav had won the gold medal (69 kg category) in the 2018 Games and a bronze in the 2014 Games (65 kg). But she missed out on a hattrick of medals after all her lifts in clean and jerk were deemed no-lift.

While her first two attempts were red flagged because of a bent elbow, her third attempt looked clean. However, that, lift too was flagged.

In clean and jerk, lifters are required to have a straight elbow, and failing to do so leads to a no-lift. In her third attempt, the problem, however, was her timing. Punam, who was at the silver medal position after Snatch, was trying to lift 116 kg in Clean and Jerk.

After lifting the weight, she dropped it before the buzzer rang, which led to her third lift being a ‘no-lift’ despite her successfully lifting the weight.

6. Aussie cyclist Matthew Glaetzer stripped of Commonwealth Games bronze medal

Australian cyclist Matt Glaetzer was controversially stripped of a bronze medal in the men's sprint final at the Commonwealth Games.

ALSO READ | Full Medals Tally, Commonwealth Games 2022

The cyclist crossed Scotland’s Jack Carlin for the bronze medal in the last moments of the race on July 31 to end the race at third.

But a decision that took over 30 minutes to come saw him stripped of the bronze medal for what looked like minimal contact with the Scotsman.

Katherine Bates, former CWG Champion for Australia, called it an “absolute travesty” on live television and Australia missed out on another medal in Birmingham, where it finished on top of the medal standings.

7. Lovlina’s coach comes in, team doctor goes out of the Commonwealth Games village

Even before the Games began, the Indian contingent was embroiled in a controversy where 2020 Olympic Bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain complained that her preparation for the event was getting affected due to “continuous harassment” of her coaches.

Consequently, her coach Sandhya Gurung was added to the squad, at the expense of the team doctor of the boxing contingent, Dr Karanvir Chib.

Dr Chib was, instead, issued a pass to access the Games Village till night. As a result, he was not allowed to enter the competition arena. In case of any injury during a bout, India could make use of doctors who were provided by the organisers themselves.

(Excerpts from an article published in Sportstar on July 27, 2022))

8. India Table Tennis men’s coach sits for the women's tie

When the Indian women’s doubles table tennis duo of Sreeja Akula and Reeth Tennison lost 2-3 to Malaysia in the semifinal, the designated women's coach of the Indian team, Anindita Chakraborty, was absent at the courtside.

Instead, men's coach S. Raman sat on the courtside.

"This should not have happened, women's coach should have been guiding the players in the match. I will take this up with the team," S D Mudgil, member of the Committee of Administrators running the suspended Table Tennis Federation of India, was quoted as saying by PTI.

Raman, who happens to be the personal coach of male player G Sathiyan, was seen coaching Reeth as the quarterfinal went down to the wire.

9. Wrestling at Commonwealth Games suffers a delay due to “technical failure”

The wrestling bouts at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on August 5 were stopped for a while and spectators, officials and media personnel were asked to vacate the Coventry Arena as officials conducted “health and safety checks”.

The delay happened following a match between Singapore’s Danielle Sue Ching Lim and Zainab Barrie of Sierra Leone.

The first hold-off was till 12.15 pm BST (4.45 pm IST) and action resumed at 1.30 pm BST (6.00 pm IST).

The official statement at the time had attributed the delay to a technical failure and “equipment being rechecked”. The mats were cordoned off. “I don’t know, but one of them told me a speaker fell off the roof,” one of the stewards said.

When trying to access the media stands, the security officials told Sportstar that there had been a “technical failure”.

10. Sophie Unwin and Georgia Holt were not awarded Bronze medals despite a third-place finish

English cyclists Sophie Unwin and Georgia Holt finished third in the women's tandem B sprint but were not awarded the bronze medal because the total number of racers in the contest was four.

Commonwealth Games’ rules allow only gold and silver medals if there are four racers. The duo protested against it, borrowing their medals from team-mates Laura Kenny and Josie Knight and photobombed the podium frame.

The pair as well as England's cycling team manager Keith Reynolds were fined 200 Swiss Francs each for "failure to respect the instructions of the commissaire/organiser."

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