India names 215-member contingent for upcoming 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games
India announced 215 member contingent for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Rajesh Bhandari replaces Onkar Singh as Chief De Mission.
India on Thursday announced a 215-member athlete contingent across 16 disciplines for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games beginning on July 28 in Birmingham. On the sidelines of the send-off ceremony for the CWG-bound athletes, IOA acting president Anil Khanna called it a 'gender-neutral contingent' with 108 men and 107 women being part of the touring party.
The overall contingent count stands at 322 including 72 team officials, 26 extra officials, nine contingent staff, including three general managers. Discipline-wise, the biggest contingent is athletics and hockey (36 entries each).
India will also take part in women's cricket, which is making its CWG debut, aquatics, badminton, table tennis, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, triathlon, wrestling, weightlifting, lawn bowls, squash, judo and para-sports.
India has only won 28 medals in athletics in CWG history but world championship medal-winning long jumper Anju Bobby George is expecting a rich haul of at least seven medals this time with Neeraj Chopra expected to win gold in the javelin. Chopra is also likely to be India's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony.
"We have about 13 athletes who could be in the medals bracket for the second and third position but we are expecting seven medals at least across javelin, long jump, triple jump and discus," she said.
Onkar Singh was IOA's first choice for the chef de mission role but he requested the acting president Anil Khanna to consider someone else as he is not ready to take up the responsibility due to health issues.
The IOA has now chosen Rajesh Bhandari, who was earlier named one of the three general managers of the contingent, for the role. Bhandari is the current Secretary of the Himachal Pradesh Olympic Association and Boxing Federation of India vice president.
Maninder Singh, Onkar Singh's son, has been added to the contingent as the third general manager in place of Bhandari. The other two general managers are Prashant Kushwaha and Anil Dhupar. Bibhu Kalyan Nayak has been appointed doctor.
"Onkar Singh ji expressed his inability to travel to Birmingham due to health issues and we understand that. Rajesh Bhandari will be the chef de mission now," IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta told PTI. Cash rewards are announced for CWG medallists.
Mehta also announced that IOA will be rewarding CWG gold medallists with Rs 20 lakh, Rs 10 lakh for silver and Rs 7.5 lakh for the bronze winners. The send-off ceremony was attended by Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, who also reviewed India's preparations for CWG in a Mission Olympic Cell meeting held before the function.
The Ministry has helped facilitate 111 exposure trips in disciplines that India will be competing in Birmingham 2022. Several elite athletes have been training abroad post-Olympics at government cost, as per their training plan.