The 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games commenced on 28 July. They are scheduled to go on till 8 August and India is competing in almost all games except a few: 3×3 basketball, beach volleyball and rugby sevens. This is going to be India’s 18th appearance at the Games, the first one being in 1934. India has since been part of 15 Commonwealth Games and has also hosted one in 2002.
The Commonwealth Games, also sometimes referred to as the ‘Friendly Games’ is an international sports event that covers multiple forms of sports and has been hosted once every four years, with the exception of 1942 and 1946; due to World War II, since it started in 1930. The first Commonwealth Games, then known as the British Empire Games, were hosted in Hamilton, Canada and it was the brainchild of Melville Marks Robinson, a sports editor.
India has had a decent record over the years, winning a total of 69 medals in Manchester 2002, 50 in Melbourne 2006, and an astounding number of 101 medals when they hosted in 2010, in Delhi. Out of these 101 medals, 39 were gold, 26 were silver and 36 were bronze. With this, they were second in position. In total, over the years, India has won 503 medals in the Commonwealth Games. India has also hosted the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune in 2008.
This year, India’s opening ceremony flag bearers were Manpreet Singh and P.V. Sindhu. Today being the first day of the Games, India’s schedule is quite exciting and definitely worth watching. Not only is India participating in almost all sports, from boxing to swimming and even squash, but some notable tournaments for today are the Indian Women’s Cricket team, led by Harmanpreet Kaur, which will play against Australia, and also the Indian Women’s Hockey team, led by Savita Punia, playing against Ghana. In the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the women’s hockey team finished fourth, and this time around, they are aiming for a higher record.
In a virtual press conference released on Thursday, Savita Punia, the captain of the women’s hockey team said, “We are confident about our chances to clinch a medal and a resounding win against Ghana will provide the perfect start to our 2022 Commonwealth Games campaign.”
Overall, India’s teams this year look quite promising and are determined to set records in their fields. The Commonwealth Games are an opportunity for India to show their skills and make their mark in the world, and so far, the climb has only been upwards.