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Commonwealth Games

A look at the history of India at the Commonwealth Games

With the 2022 Commonwealth Games set to begin from July 28, let us look at India's history in the quadrennial event.

Neeraj Chopra won the gold in javelin throw at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast (Source: Getty)

Neeraj Chopra won the gold in javelin throw at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast (Source: Getty)


The Bridge Desk

Published: 13 Jun 2022 1:20 PM GMT

The Commonwealth Games 2022 at Birmingham is upon us. The quadrennial event has been India's favourite hunting ground in the international arena, and it is also a platform for Olympic preparation.

India has taken part in the Commonwealth Games since the second edition of the event in 1934, barring 1930, 1950, 1962 and 1986. The Games involving the Commonwealth of Nations were first held in 1930.

India's year-wise medal tally at CWG

Since 1934, India has won 503 medals – 181 gold, 173 silver and 149 bronze - at the Commonwealth Games, with 231 of these medals coming in the last three games. India's most successful games were in 2010 at New Delhi, hauling in 101 medals across disciplines and finishing second on the medals tally for the first and only time so far. Having made its debut at the quadrennial event way back in the year 1934, India stands fourth in the all-time medal tally behind Australia, England, and Canada.

History of medals

During India's maiden outing in the games in 1934 when it was called the British Empire Games, the country that represented itself as a British colony had sent six athletes. India won its first CWG medal in their first appearance when wrestler Rashid Anwar clinched the bronze medal in men's 74kg freestyle wrestling. However, it took India three more editions to win their second medal.

In the 1958 Games, things turned for good and India won their first gold in the CWG when Milkha Singh topped the men's 440 yard event at Cardiff. The same year saw wrestler Lila Ram also winning in the gold medal in the 100kg freestyle category. The 1958 Games also saw Indian women taking part in the CWG when field athletes Stephanie D'Souza and Elizabeth Davenport stepped up in Indian colours. Dsouza took part in the 100 yards and 220 yards sprints in the 1958 Games. Since 1958, India has consistently won medals in the CWG.

India's sport-wise medal tally in CWG

India's dominant show at the Games has come from three events - shooting, weightlifting and wrestling. Of their 503 medals, India has earned 135 medals in shooting, 125 in weightlifting and 102 in wrestling, across multiple categories. Since the turn of the century, India has found success with its singles badminton players as well.

By far, India's most successful athlete at the CWG is shooter Jaspal Rana with 15 medals – nine golds, four silvers and two bronze.

Manika Batra with the gold medal in 2018 Commonwealth Games

Shuttlers Ami Ghia and Kanwal Singh were the first Indian women to win a CWG medal when they won the women's doubles bronze in 1978. At the 2018 edition in Gold Coast, Manika Batra was the most successful Indian with four medals. India finished third with 66 medals at the edition.

Paddler Sharath Kamal has won eight medals at the CWG, which is the highest by any non-shooter Indian athlete. Unlike the Olympics, India has a good reputation for winning medals in athletics events with a total of 28, including five gold, 10 silver and 13 bronze medals. Neeraj Chopra won the CWG gold medal in 2018 in javelin throw.

Since the 2000s, India has consistently finished among the top five countries in the medals table at the CWG. The country has won medals in 14 sports in the CWG so far. In the CWG 2018, India came home with 66 medals, including 26 gold and finished third in the medal tally. It was India's best position since the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which they hosted.

Indian athletes will once again be aiming to shatter records at the Birmingham Games.

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