The Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 is all set to commence on July 28. With India's best-ever performance at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics which happened last year, hopes are high for a spirited Indian performance at the Commonwealth Games. Not only will the Indian squad of over 200 plus athletes look to win medals when they compete in their respective disciplines in the United Kingdom but this will also be viewed as a preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Before things get underway and the sporting fever takes over India, here in this article, we look at India's top 10 medal contenders at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022. As India is celebrating its 75th year of Independence, here is wishing for the country's best performance at the quadrennial event and hoping for many opportunities to see the Indian tricolour being raised the highest.
1. Amit Panghal (boxing, men's 51 kg)
When it comes to the flyweight division, boxer Amit Panghal is regarded as one of the best in the world. With form and reputation both on his side, the 26-year-old will be looking to clinch nothing but the gold in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. He had already won the silver medal in the last edition of the Games and headed into the Tokyo Olympics as the World's Number 1. While he could clinch a medal then, this could be his chance to aid India bag a gold.
2. PV Sindhu ( badminton, women's singles)
Another important multi-sport event and once again, India's eyes will be on its ace shuttler PV Sindhu. She has made the nation proud by winning two Olympic medals and with a superb temperament and a knack for raising the level of her performance in important events, Sindhu will be a big medal contender for India.
3. Vinesh Phogat (wrester, women's 53 kg)
A major disappointment at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the only one from SportsTiger predicted medal winners to have not clinched a medal was India's Vinesh Phogat. The reason was she was being looked at as one of the prime contenders for a medal but failed to add to India's medals tally. She herself was very disappointed after missing out on a golden opportunity to win an Olympic medal for India saying "I am truly broken." However, she has gotten time to overcome that shocking loss with even India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing faith in her. This is her time to complete redemption. India believes in you, Vinesh!
4. Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth (badminton, men's singles)
What an amazing build-up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games, young Lakshya Sen has had. Not only Sen managed to clinch a bronze medal at the World Championships but reached the final of the 2022 All England Open Badminton Championships before settling for a silver. With Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia pulling out and China and Japan not being part of this competition, it is a further medal boost for both Sen and fellow Indian Kidambi Srikanth. Would be an amazing sight to see both of them at the podium.
5. Nikhat Zareen (boxing, women's 50 kg)
Reigning Women's World Boxing champion Nikhat Zareen is another name that India are backing to win the gold this time. She has already proven herself as one of the best in the world. The 26-year-old now needs to deliver at the Commonwealth Games and sustain the kind of form she has displayed in recent times. Another important thing to note is her confidence after the historic medal at the World Championships which means she would not doubt her ability even in tough situations. Expect her to clinch a medal from the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
6. Ravi Kumar Dahiya (wrestling, men’s 57kg)
Ravi Kumar Dahiya has been in incredible form in recent years. Not only did he win the silver medal at the Toko Olympics 2020 but has been in great form overall with medals in the World Championships as well as the Asian Championships. With a recent track record favouring him and his experience of excelling in the Olympics, Ravi could be a bankable option to expect a medal from and India will be hoping for a gold from him.
7. Mirabai Chanu (weightlifting, women's 49 kg)
India's face in the sport of weightlifting in recent years, yet again there will be high hopes from Mirabai Chanu especially after she helped India win a medal on the first day of the Olympics for the first time in history at Tokyo 2020. She had won the gold medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and would want to repeat her performance although this time around, she will be competing in the 49 category as opposed to the 48 kg category the last time.
8. Bajrang Punia (wrestling, men's 65 kg)
India have traditionally fielded one of the strongest contingents in wrestling and this time around it's no different with Bajrang Punia also likely to come back with a medal other than Vinesh Phogat and Ravi Dahiya. Bajrang too clinched a gold medal in the 2018 edition of the Commonwealth Games and a similar result is expected in the 2022 edition of the event in the United Kingdom. He clinched the bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
9. Indian men's hockey team
There is something about team sports that gives a different hit than perhaps any other sport. Of course, the women's cricket team will be one of the contenders but it is the men's hockey team that will look to win a medal after a disappointing campaign in the 2018 edition. An experienced squad has been picked and the core of the side that clinched a historic bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics is intact. The men's hockey side did reach the finals of the 2010 and 2014 editions of the Commonwealth Games but on both occasions, they were defeated by Australia. They would have plenty to prove when they take the field in the Birmingham Games.
10. Annu Rani (javelin throw, women's)
In the absence of Annu Rani, India's best bet for a medal in athletics seems to be Annu Rani. She is India's national record holder in women's javelin throw and much like Neeraj, she has broken her own record several times. Her personal best throw is recorded at 63.24 metres and if she is anywhere that mark, India and Rani will be in with a big chance of a medal. While she did not have a good outing at the World Championships even Neeraj had struggled there before managing his medal-securing throw in his fourth attempt. Expect the 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist to come good at the Birmingham games.