Young and old shine in India's CWG campaign
Gold Coast: The exuberance of youth, the endurance of experience and a bit of usual drama that is signature Indian sports -- the country's Commonwealth Games campaign was all this and much more with a medal count that turned out to be the third best ever.
From the teen shooting trio of Manu Bhaker, Mehuli Ghosh and Anish Bhanwala, the historic table tennis performance by Manika Batra to the arrival of a very confident Neeraj Chopra on the big stage, India had its next crop of stars ready to challenge the world.
The redoubtable Saina Nehwal provided the final day golden touch with her women's singles gold, much like the 2010 Games where her top finish was a shade more significant for it took the overall tally to 100. With 26 gold, 20 silver and as may bronze medals, India signed off third on the table -- a promotion of two positions from Glasgow and it was a combination of youth and experience which delivered the results. At 2010 Games in New Delhi, India won 101 medal, including 38 gold while at 2002 Manchester Games India had managed a total of 69 medal of which 30 were gold.
The likes of MC Mary Kom, Seema Punia and Sushil Kumar showed that experience can never be discounted either, turning back the clock to deliver performances which were nothing short of awe-inspiring.
While the shooters, weightlifters, wrestlers and the boxers were expected to bring home the maximum share of medal, there was a significant new addition to that in table tennis.
After just one bronze in the 2014 edition, there were significant concerns about how the performance might shape up this time. But Manika Batra was determined to ensure that things turn out differently. The 22-year-old, who dropped out of college to focus on her game, justified what many would call a massive risk.It was by far the best individual performance by an Indian athlete as she ensnared a historic individual gold, a team gold, a women's doubles silver and a mixed doubles bronze.
On the other end of the spectrum were Mary Kom and Sushil. Without a shadow of doubt among the greatest athletes of their respective sports but faced questions about their future quite often, the duo decided to show how to turn the clock back.