A member of the team that played India’s first-ever Test match was also a member of the Indian contingent that made its Commonwealth Games debut in 1934 at London!
Jahangir Khan, an all-rounder in the undivided Indian team that made its Test debut against England in June 1932 at Lord’s and who later became a cricket selector and administrator in Pakistan after partition, was a javelin thrower and a sprint relay runner in the 1934 British Empire Games, as the Commonwealth Games were then known.
India did not send a team for the first Games in 1930 but sent a six-member squad for the next edition in London and Rashid Anwar, the team’s lone wrestler, won the first-ever and sole medal that year – a bronze in the 74kg freestyle event.
The country failed to pick a medal in the next Games, at Sydney in 1938, and skipped the next edition at Auckland in 1950 (The Games were not held in 1942 and 1946). It drew a blank again at Auckland in 1954, the first time it was participating in the Games since Independence in 1947.
India first won gold at the Games in Cardiff, Wales, in 1958, when the great Milkha Singh (440-yard race) and freestyle wrestler Lila Ram (100kg), emerged as champions. Milkha beat Malcolm Spence to the gold in Cardiff but two years later, the South African beat the Indian in a close race and took the 400m bronze at the 1960 Tokyo Olympics.
India has won more than 500 medals in the 17 editions – it missed four (in 1930, 1950, 1962 and 1986) – of the Commonwealth Games, including 182 gold, with shooting alone garnering 63 gold.
Shooting made its Games debut in 1966 but India’s first gold in that sport came only in 1990 at Auckland through Ashok Pandit in centre-fire pistol. Jaspal Rana has the distinction of winning the maximum medals (15) in shooting, including nine gold.
Shooting has been dropped from the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
India had its best medal tally (101 medals, including 38 gold), in 2010 when it hosted the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
It finished second in the medal table, its best-ever finish in the Games.
Here’s a brief look at India’s medal tally at the Commonwealth Games since 1934 and some interesting landmarks:
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