Commonwealth Games 2022: Potential 26 gold medals India will eye in Birmingham

With shooting, in which India won seven gold medals four years ago, eliminated from CWG 2022, and the withdrawal of Neeraj Chopra due to injury, the task of replicating the Gold Coast performance will be a challenging task. It’s not impossible though.

Here are 26 gold medals India could potentially win in Birmingham.

Here are 26 gold medals India could potentially win in Birmingham. | Photo Credit:

With shooting, in which India won seven gold medals four years ago, eliminated from CWG 2022, and the withdrawal of Neeraj Chopra due to injury, the task of replicating the Gold Coast performance will be a challenging task. It’s not impossible though.

With a total of 26 gold medals India finished third on the medal table at the 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG) with its best performance since the 2010 edition in New Delhi (38 gold medals). With shooting, in which India won seven gold medals four years ago, eliminated from CWG 2022, and the withdrawal of Neeraj Chopra due to injury, the task of replicating the Gold Coast performance will be a challenging task. It’s not impossible though. Here are 26 gold medals India could potentially win in Birmingham.

Athletics

1) Men’s Long Jump – Murali Sreeshankar

India has never won gold in the men’s long jump at the CWG. Murali Sreeshankar is poised to change that. 

India has never won gold in the men’s long jump at the CWG. Murali Sreeshankar is poised to change that.  | Photo Credit: REUTERS

India has never won gold in the men’s long jump at the CWG. Murali Sreeshankar is poised to change that. Sreeshankar, the Indian national record holder with a jump of 8.36m, is in form, having finished 7th in the final of the Athletics World Championships last week. Sreeshankar’s main rivals, apart from teammate Muhammed Anees Yahiya, will be Wayne Pinnock of Jamaica and Henry Frayne of Australia. Both Pinnock (PB 8.14m) and Frayne (PB 8.34m) are capable of big jumps, but have not been consistent this season, finishing 9th and 12th at the Worlds behind Sreeshankar. Another potential threat for the Indian will be 2019 World champion Tajay Gayle of Jamaica. However Gayle is still recovering from an injury. He failed to register a mark at the World Championships and is yet to decide if he will compete at the CWG.

Final – August 4

2) Men’s triple jump – Eldhose Paul/Praveen Chithravel/Abdulla Aboobacker

Abdulla Aboobacker, Praveen Chithravel and Eldhose Paul

Abdulla Aboobacker, Praveen Chithravel and Eldhose Paul | Photo Credit: LAVANYA LAKSHMI NARAYANAN

India’s best chance of a gold medal in athletics will probably come in the men’s triple jump. Chithravel (PB and SB 17.18m), Eldhose Paul (PB and SB 16.99m) and Aboobacker (PB and SB 17.19m) have the potential to win gold. The standard of competition in the triple jump is not of the highest standard in the CWG. The gold medal in 2018 went at 16.88m. Things are not very different this season, with Eldhose the only representative from a Commonwealth country reaching the final of the World Championships, where he finished with a jump of 16.79m. After the three Indians, Jah Nhai Perinchief of Bermuda has the best jump by a contender at the CWG this season with a mark of 16.95m. He also has the potential to cross the 17m mark, with a PB of 17.03m. However in his most recent competition, Perinchief registered a modest 16.38m.

Final – August 7

3) Women’s discus throw – Seema Antil

With three silver medals and a bronze over four Commonwealth Games, Seema Antil is nearing the end of her athletics career. This could be her best chance of adding a gold medal to her CWG haul. Her nemesis in the last two editions – Dani Samuels – retired last year. Shadae Lawrence who has the best throw among athletes from the Commonwealth Nations has not been included in the Jamaican squad for the Games. Antil’s competition is going to come from Nigeria’s Chioma Onyekwere and England’s Jade Lally. While both Onyekwere (60.90m) and Lally (61.78m) have thrown better than Antil this season, they have been out of form recently. Lally threw 58.21m at the World Championships, while Onyekwere registered 57.87m in the competition.

Final - August 2

Badminton

4) Men’s Singles – Kidambi Srikanth/Lakshya Sen

In the absence of Malaysia’s Lee Ji Zia, world champion Loh Kuan Yew of Singapore is the highest ranked men’s singles player at the CWG at world number 9. This season, though, Yew has failed to match the level that won him the world title. While Srikanth and Sen are themselves searching for form recently, they will be confident of taking on the Singpore player. While Srikanth is level 1-1 with Yew, Lakshya has a 3-2 win record against the current world champion, including in their last match.

Final – August 8

5) Women’s singles – PV Sindhu

Sindhu has never won gold in the women’s singles at the Commonwealth Games.

Sindhu has never won gold in the women’s singles at the Commonwealth Games. | Photo Credit: PTI

Sindhu has never won gold in the women’s singles at the Commonwealth Games, but 2022 could be her year. With world ranking (WR) 7, she is the highest ranked player in the competition. She is coming into the tournament after a win at the Singapore Open. Her toughest challenge is likely to come from WR 13 Michelle Li. Though the Canadian beat Sindhu in the semifinal of the 2014 CWG, the Indian has won the next six matches for an overall 8-2 record.

Final – August 8

6) Mixed team event

India won gold in the mixed team event in the 2018 edition, beating Malaysia. Owing the absence of Malaysia’s top ranked men’s singles player Lee Ji Zia, and Sindhu’s form leading up to the CWG, India will likely be at advantage in the singles matches this time, too. With the mixed doubles likely proving to be a tough ask, India will need either the men’s doubles pairing of Chirag Shetty and Satwik Rankireddy, or the womens doubles partnership of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand to pick up a win if it is to retain the gold.

Final – August 2

Boxing

7) Men’s 63.5kg – Shiva Thapa

Shiva lost his only previous bout at the CWG — in the first round of the 2014 Games in Glasgow. 

Shiva lost his only previous bout at the CWG — in the first round of the 2014 Games in Glasgow.  | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

Shiva lost his only previous bout at the CWG — in the first round of the 2014 Games in Glasgow. However, he has a good chance of doing much better this time. The 28-year-old former world bronze medallist won his fifth medal at the Asian Championships last year and will be among the most experienced boxers in his weight category at Birmingham. His toughest challenge will come from fellow 28-year-old Junias Jonas of Namibia, who won gold in the 2018 CWG and is a two-time Olympian.

Final - August 7

8) Men’s 92kg – Sanjeet Kumar

Twice a quarterfinalist at the world championships, Sanjeet, who also has a gold medal at the 2021 Asian Championships, is one India’s best men’s boxing hope at the CWG. With New Zealand’s two-time CWG champion David Nyika missing the tournament due to injury, Sanjeet will be the favourite to win his first CWG title.

Final - August 7

9) Women’s 48kg – Neetu Ganghas

Although Ganghas isn’t the most experienced boxer in the draw, she could well be the surprise package in the women’s minimumweight division. Ganghas reached the quarterfinals of the 2022 world championships, where she lost to the eventual silver medallist. She also won gold in the prestigious Strandja Cup earlier this year. Her toughest ask is likely to come from former world bronze medallist Demie-Jade Resztan of England.

Final - August 7

10) Women’s 50kg – Nikhat Zareen

Gold medallist at the 2022 World Championships, Zareen is competing in her first CWG.

Gold medallist at the 2022 World Championships, Zareen is competing in her first CWG. | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

Gold medallist at the 2022 World Championships, Zareen is competing in her first CWG and is the odds-on favourite to win gold. With England and Australia fielding relatively inexperienced sides, Northern Ireland's Carly McNaul, silver medallist from the 2018 CWG, will likely pose the toughest challenge for Zareen.

Final - August 7

Bronze medallist at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Lovlina is a two-time bronze medallist at the world championships.

Bronze medallist at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Lovlina is a two-time bronze medallist at the world championships. | Photo Credit: PTI

Bronze medallist at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Lovlina, a two-time bronze medallist at the world championships, has had a slow start to the season, losing her second round match at the 2022 world championships to Cindy Ngamba. Though Ngamba trains in England, she isn’t representing the country at the CWG. 2018 CWG silver medallist Sophie Eccles of Wales is likely to pose the toughest challenge for the Indian.

Final - August 7

Judo

12) Women’s 78kg+ — Tulika Maan

Maan is perhaps India’s best bet to win its first judo gold at the Commonwealth Games. Maan’s weight division is amongst the weakest in the field at Birmingham, leaving her — a two-time Commonwealth Championships gold medallist in the division — as the favourite. Tokyo Olympian Gabriella Wood is expected to be Maan’s toughest opponent, although the Indian defeated the Trinidad and Tobago judoka at the 2019 Commonwealth Championships.

Final - August 3

Squash

13) Women’s doubles – Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal

As silver medallists from the 2018 edition, the women’s doubles pairing of Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal will be among the favourites to win in Birmingham.

As silver medallists from the 2018 edition, the women’s doubles pairing of Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal will be among the favourites to win in Birmingham. | Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

As silver medallists from the 2018 edition, the women’s doubles pairing of Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal will be among the favourites to win in Birmingham. They avenged their loss to Amanda Landers Murphy and Joelle King of New Zealand in Gold Coast with a win over them in the semifinals of the 2022 doubles world championships in Glasgow in April. They also beat England’s top pair of Sarah Jane Perry and Alison Waters to become the first Indian women’s pair to win gold in the competition.

Final - August 8

14) Mixed doubles – Dipika Pallikal and Sourav Ghosal

Pallikal could well win her second gold of the Commonwealth Games with Sourav Ghosal in the mixed doubles. The pair won silver in the last edition and is in fine form this season, having won a historic first gold in the mixed doubles category of the doubles world championships in April.

Final - August 7

Weightlifting

15) Men’s 55kg – Sanket Sargar

22-year-old Sargar is likely to win India’s first gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. He holds the current Commonwealth record in his division, having put up a total of 256kg at the Singapore Weightlifting international in February. His biggest challenge is likely to come from Malaysia’s Aniq bin Kasdan, who had set the previous record of 249kg.

Final - July 30

16) Men’s 67kg – Jeremy Lalrinnunga

Jeremy Lalrinnunga will be one of the gold contenders at the 2022 CWG.

Jeremy Lalrinnunga will be one of the gold contenders at the 2022 CWG. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Jeremy Lalrinnunga's chances for gold at the 2022 CWG went up dramatically after Pakistan’s Talha Talib, who was placed fifth in Tokyo Olympics, was banned for failing a dope test. In Talib’s absence, Lalrinnunga won gold at the 2021 Commonwealth Championships with a total of 305kg, 10kg clear of Joseph Edidiong of Nigeria, who will be in Birmingham.

Final - July 31

17) Men’s 73kg – Achinta Sheuli

Sheuli, 21, is favourite for gold. At last year's Commonwealth Championships, Sheuli finished with a total of 316kg, a national record. The total was 15 kg clear of Erry Hidayat of Malaysia, who is expected to be the Indian’s closest rival in Birmingham.

Final - July 31

18) Women’s 49kg – Mirabai Chanu

Olympic silver medallist Mirabai Chanu is almost a certainty to win gold. Her target isn’t just a gold medal, but to lift 90kg or more in the snatch portion of the event. Even if she doesn’t make the snatch lift she is eyeing, she routinely totals above 200kg and is way ahead of her nearest challenger – Stella Kingsley of Nigeria (168kg personal best).

Final - July 30

19) Women’s 55kg – Bindyarani Devi

Bindyarani Devi won a gold in the clean and jerk at the 2021 world championships with a 114kg lift. The same event doubled up as the Commonwealth Championships. The Indian's lift was not enough for her to win in the overall total at the Commonwealth Championships, which was won by Nigeria’s Adijat Olarinoye, who totalled 203kg. Bindyarani's total stood at 198kg. Bindyarani is targeting a 120kg clean and jerk lift in Birmingham and is confident about her chances for gold.

Final - July 30

Wrestling

20) Men’s 57kg – Ravi Dahiya

Ravi Dahiya is an Olympic silver medallist.

Ravi Dahiya is an Olympic silver medallist. | Photo Credit: AFP

Having lost only one match since the start of 2021, Olympic silver medallist, world bronze medallist and three time Asian Champion Ravi Dahiya is almost certain to win gold at the Commonwealth Games. While no wrestler at the 2022 Games is expected to be a serious threat, Canada’s Darthe Capellan, Pan American champion in 2016, might prove to be the Indian’s toughest challenge.

Final - August 6

Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang has not been his usual dominant self recently owing to a persistent niggle in his knee, but the three-time worlds medallist is still the runaway favourite to win gold. The one potential banana peel between him and a second CWG gold medal could be Lachlan McNeil of Canada – a promising young wrestler who won gold at the 2021 Pan American juniors.

Final - August 5

22) Men’s 74kg — Naveen

Although still eligible to compete in the junior category, Naveen earned his place in the Indian team after beating Asian silver medallists Jitender Kumar and Gourav Baliyan in the trials. Expected to be a force in the future, Naveen, who won bronze at this year's Asian Championships, is seen to be already too strong for the CWG field this year. As a much more experienced wrestler, Canada’s junior Pan American silver medallist Patrik Leder might pose a threat, but it’s likely that Naveen will pull through.

Final - August 6

23) Men’s 86kg – Deepak Punia

While he would have been disappointed with his fifth place finish (after losing a bronze medal match) at the Tokyo Olympics and shown signs of weakness in his bronze medal finish at the 2022 Asian Championships, Deepak is still far too strong for the Commonwealth Games field. Competing in his first CWG, Punia though has a reasonably tricky opponent in two-time CWG champion and three-time beach wrestling world champion Muhammad Inam of Pakistan

Final - August 5

24) Women’s 53kg – Vinesh Phogat

Vinesh will be going for her third CWG gold medal.

Vinesh will be going for her third CWG gold medal. | Photo Credit: AP

Vinesh will be going for her third CWG gold medal. She is the favourite despite an average run of form of late. She is yet to win a medal this season. She did not make the podium at the Yasar Dogu tournament in February, but it was her first competition since surgery on her elbow last year. At the Commonwealth Games, Phogat isn’t the only world medallist. Canada’s Samantha Stewart won bronze in Oslo last year. However, Vinesh beat her the only time they wrestled.

Final - August 6

25) Women’s 57kg– Anshu Malik

Anshu recorded India’s best result at the World Championships when she won a silver at Oslo last year. If she has to win gold on her Commonwealth Games debut, she will likely have to get the better of Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekueroye. The Nigerian was shocked at the Tokyo Olympics, but returned to form winning gold at the African Championships. The last time the two met – at the Rome Ranking series in 2020 — Anshu, then 18, was beaten by technical superiority. However, the Indian is a much stronger fighter and a gold at the CWG is within her grasp.

Final - August 5

26) Women’s 62kg – Sakshi Malik

Despite being the only Indian woman wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics, Sakshi has never won gold at the CWG. Making things easier this time for Sakshi compared to 2018, when she won a bronze, is the fact that two time CWG champion Aminat Adeniyi of Nigeria and world medallist Michelle Fazzari of Canada are not competing in Birmingham. Instead, Sakshi will face two relatively inexperienced wrestlers in Nigeria’s Esther Kolawole and Canada’s U-23 world champion Ana Godinez.

Final - August 5

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