The Indian Olympic Association announced on Saturday a 322-strong contingent, including 215 athletes and 107 officials and auxiliaries, for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The games are scheduled to take place in a UK city from July 28th to August 8th and the Indian contingent will look to improve on their CWG performance at the Gold Coast 2018 where they finished third behind traditional powerhouses Australia and England.
IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta shared his thoughts: “We are sending one of our strongest teams ever to the CWG and even if a strength sport for us like shooting is not included, we are confident of improving our performance from the last edition.
“Make no mistake, the competition will be world class and tough but our athletes have prepared well and are fit and energetic. We wish them well.” The Games-bound Indian athletes and officials will be housed in five different ‘villages’, with the women’s cricket team being housed in a separate facility in Birmingham city centre.
In a press release issued by the IOA, the chief executive of the elite sporting organization thanked the government for its support of athletes and federations. Mehta said: “It has to be said that the Government of India, led by the Hon. Prime Minister, has shown unprecedented support for the Olympic sport in recent years and our best ever performance at the Olympics is a testament to that.
“We always remain grateful for that and are sure that our athletes will ensure that they are amply rewarded for their tireless efforts, most notably the Union Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India.” Some prominent names in the squad are the Olympic champions Neeraj Chopra, PV Sindhu, Mirabai Chanu, Lovlina Borgohain, Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar Dahiya.
Defending CWG champions Manika Batra, Vinesh Phogat, as well as 2018 Asian Games gold medalists Tajinderpal Singh Toor, Hima Das and Amit Panghal are also part of the contingent. Rajesh Bhandari, Vice President of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), is the Chef de Mission of the squad.
Team India will compete in 15 sports disciplines plus four disciplines in the Parasports category. Some of the disciplines that India hopes to do well in are traditionally strong sports such as boxing, badminton, hockey, weightlifting, women’s cricket (making its CWG debut) and wrestling.
The Indian squads in athletics, cycling, swimming and table tennis are also strong and ready for the challenge.
Various members of the squad have already arrived at Birmingham in recent days depending on their training schedules set by their respective coaches.
Some members compete in various global tournaments and would reach the venue direct while the rest of the contingent would fly out from New Delhi. The CWG Village will officially open its doors to contingents on July 23rd.
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