Sportstar brings you the names of the top Indian athletes who would be missing in action at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
1. Neeraj Chopra (javelin)- Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra was ruled out two days before the start of the Commonwealth Games due to an injury he picked up at last week’s Athletics World championships. At the recently concluded 2022 World Athletics Championships, he had claimed silver with a throw of 88.13m. Chopra competed in the finals with strapping on his thigh owing to a groin injury. It is learned that Chopra has been advised a month’s rest. Chopra previously missed out on the entirety of the 2019 season due to an elbow injury which eventually needed surgery. Chopra is the second Indian to win a medal at the Worlds, after Anju Bobby George’s bronze in 2003.
2. Saina Nehwal (badminton)- The two-time CWG champion skipped the badminton selection trials for the multi-sport events. Not wanting to exert her body by taking part in the trials, she questioned the logic of having trials when the playing schedule is packed and said that players deserve more time to prepare for the trials. However, the Badminton Association of India made it clear that players inside the top 15 in the BWF rankings will be picked directly, while the rest will be chosen from the trials which will see the participation of shuttlers ranked between 16 to 50. Though Saina wrote a letter to the BAI stating the difficulties, they did not revert, said her husband P Kashyap.
3. Mary Kom (boxing)- Mary Kom was ruled out of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) trials after picking up an injury. The CWG defending champion started her bout with vigour against two-time Youth World Champion Nitu Ganghas in the first round of the 48kg category. As the two boxers closed in, Kom leaned away to slip a punch, and her knee gave away. Though the referee ruled it a slip, Kom didn’t bounce up as she would otherwise have. She gingerly made her way up and then shook her leg as if to will it to work again. The bout resumed but a second later stopped again as it became clear that Kom wasn’t able to put any weight on her left leg. The referee called an injury time, and when it was clear Kom wasn’t going to be able to recover, declared Neetu the winner by RSC (I).
4. Tajinderpal Singh Toor (shot put)- Top Indian shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor was excluded from the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham due to the groin injury he sustained ahead of the World Athletics Championships this year. Toor sustained the injury at Chula Vista in the USA, where the Indian team for the World Championships had a brief training stint ahead of the showpiece. He tried a couple of practice throws before the event but decided to skip it as the pain did not subside due to strain on his adductor muscles which join the thigh to the hip. Named in the original 36-member Indian athletics team for the Games, his qualification was subject to his performance in an event in Kazakhstan. Missing the CWG qualifying standard of 20.50m by 0.16m during the National Inter-State Championships in Chennai last month, the Asian record holder threw only 19.96m in an event in Chula Vista before the injury.
5. S. Dhanalakshmi (athletics)- Sprinter S. Dhanalakshmi tested positive for banned drugs a few days ahead of the multi-sport event and has been ruled out of the Games and handed a provisional suspension. The 24-year-old Dhanalakshmi was a part of the athletics team for the Birmingham CWG and returned positive for a banned steroid in a dope test conducted abroad by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of the World Athletics. She was named in the CWG team for 100m and the 4x100m relay team.
6. Aishwarya Babu (high and triple jumper)- Jumper Aishwarya Babu was also tested positive for banned drugs a few days ahead of the CWG. Having been ruled out of the Games and handed provisional suspensions, the 24-year-old Aishwarya’s dope sample was taken by the National Anti-Doping Agency officials during the National Inter-State Athletics Championships in Chennai last month which tested positive. Aishwarya’s progress in the last couple of years has raised eyebrows. Two years ago, she made a 6.25m long jump and a 13.29m triple jump. Her long-jump mark has improved to 6.52m (in 2021) and 6.73 this year, and her triple jump has improved to 13.55 (in 2021) and 14.14 this year.
7. Rani Rampal (hockey)- Indian women’s hockey team will have to play without their star striker Rani Rampal, who was not included in the 18-member squad after failing to regain full fitness after an injury. Rani, who led the Indian women to a historic fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics, was picked for the recent FIH Pro League matches in Belgium and Netherlands after recovering from a hamstring injury. She didn’t feature in the first four games of the side’s European leg of the Pro League, raising doubts about her fitness. Eventually, she was not included in the recently concluded hockey women’s World Cup, wherein India tied with China for the ninth spot.
8. Kamalpreet Kaur (discus throw)-This Olympian crossed the Commonwealth Games qualification mark of 58m by throwing 61.39m in the Discus Throw finals to win gold at the Indian Grand Prix II in Thiruvananthapuram on March 23. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics announced Kamalpreet Kaur’s provisional suspension on its website on May 4. If proven, Kaur could face a suspension of up to four years. In an out-of-competition test conducted by AIU in India on March 29 this year, the sixth-place finisher at the Tokyo Olympics returned a positive test for stanozolol.
9. Vikas Krishnan (boxing)- Vikas Krishnan won gold in the 2018 Commonwealth Games after defeating Cameroon’s Wilfried Seynitsengue in the men’s 75kg final by unanimous decision. He became the first Indian male boxer to win gold medals at both the Asian and Commonwealth Games. However, he did not attend the boxing trials for Commonwealth Games this June, thereby would not be able to participate in the Games this year.
10. Jeswin Aldrin (long jumper)- Jeswin Aldrin crossed the 8m Commonwealth Games qualification mark with a stunning 8.26m jump at the Federation Cup in April this year. However, in the next three events, he failed to remain consistent and touch 8m. In the final qualifying event for the Games- the Inter-State championship his best jump was 7.71m, while he jumped 7.51m in the finals. Due to this, he was not selected for the Commonwealth Games squad.
11. Shikha Pandey (cricketer)- Shikha Pandey, who was abruptly dropped from the Women’s World Cup squad this year, has also been excluded from the Commonwealth Games squad. The senior pacer was not given a reason for the snub. However, speculations of a dip in form may have resulted in the selectors’ decision. The 33-year-old all-rounder’s last T20I match dates back to India’s tour of Australia in October 2021. Out of the 56 WT20Is played, she has scored 207 runs and taken 40 wickets.
12. HS Prannoy (badminton)- Despite enjoying a fine run in the 2022 season, 29-year-old HS Prannoy was not included in India’s 10-member badminton squad. The restriction to 10 spots meant that every country can only field two players for each of the four categories. Prannoy, who is ranked third in the singles category behind Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikkanth thereby missed the cut as Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty sealed the men’s doubles spots.
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