CWG Gold Coast: A look at India's medal contenders

With just two days to go for the 21st Commonwealth Games here, PTI takes a look at some of the Indian contingent's top stars and dark horses to watch out for at an event where the country stands fourth in the all-time medal tally.

CWG Gold Coast: A look at India's medal contenders
Photo: PTI

Gold Coast: With just two days to go for the 21st Commonwealth Games here, PTI takes a look at some of the Indian contingent's top stars and dark horses to watch out for at an event where the country stands fourth in the all-time medal tally.

SHOOTING: India is second in the CWG's all-time medal list for shooting and it is expected that the marksmen and women will once again be contributing a bountiful of medals. Here are some of the strong medal bets.

Heena Sidhu: The feisty pistol shooter from Punjab is in fine form going into the Games, having claimed three gold medals at the Commonwealth Championships a few months ago. She will be competing in the women's 25m pistol and 10m air pistol competitions.

Manu Bhaker: The 16-year-old has been nothing short of sensational with two gold medals (individual and team) in her maiden senior World Cup just weeks ago. She would be lining up alongside Heena in the 10m air pistol event.

Jitu Rai: The diminutive Army shooter is a strong medal hope and would be aiming for a second successive CWG gold in the men's 50m pistol event. The 30-year-old will also try his fortunes in the 10m air pistol competition and a medal in Gold Coast would help heal some of the disappointment of his Olympic failure in 2016 Rio Games.

ATHLETICS: The blue-riband event of all multi-sport extravaganzas, athletics gave India a gold, silver and a bronze in the 2014 CWG.

Neeraj Chopra: The 20-year-old javelin thrower would be a carrying a massive burden of expectations and it remains to be seen how he responds to the spotlight. At the senior world championships in London some months ago, the junior world record-holder failed to qualify for the finals. A gold at last year's Asian Championships is his biggest achievement going into his maiden CWG.

Seema Punia: The discus thrower, who claimed a silver in the Glasgow Games, would be eyeing a golden end to her CWG stint. The 34-year-old achieved two-year best when she threw to 61.05m, which was also a meet record at the Federation Cup last month. It remains to be seen whether the Asian Games champion can better defending gold-medallist and home favourite Dani Stevens and finish on top.

Tejaswin Shankar: The 19-year-old high-jumper bettered his own national record marginally at the Federation Cup last month. He improved it from 2.26m to 2.28m. He can be considered a strong medal hope going by the results of the previous Games where the silver-medallist had jumped 2.28m.

BADMINTON: A gold by P Kashyap was the icing on the cake as the shuttlers returned with four medals from Glasgow and this time, the expectations would be much higher with a star-studded line-up set to take the court.

PV Sindhu: The Olympic silver-medallist is being seen as a sure-shot medallist. She won a bronze in the last edition and the world No.3 looks set to change the colour of the medal when she takes the court this time.

Saina Nehwal: Still regaining her fitness after a career-threatening knee surgery, 2010 gold-medallist Saina would be a strong contender too if she manages to remain fit during the event, which she missed in 2014 owing to injuries.

K Srikanth: In the absence of an injured Kashyap, Srikanth would be India's men's singles medal hope and he would aim to do better than the quarterfinal finish of the 2014 Games.

BOXING: There was no gold to show for the last time around and the speculated needle controversy hasn't done them any good here. But the Indians are among the strongest boxing contingents.

MC Mary Kom: A colossal figure not just in India boxing but international boxing as well, the 35-year-old Mary Kom would be, hold your breath, making her CWG debut here. The five-time world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist is a favourite to pick up the 48kg gold and make her first and last CWG a memorable affair.

Vikas Krishan: One of India's just four men's world medallists, Vikas has come here after claiming a gold at the prestigious Strandja Memorial Tournament in Bulgaria in February. Like Mary Kom, Vikas will also be making his debut at the Games and would be a strong contender in the 75kg division.

Amit Panghal: The diminutive light flyweight 49kg boxer is also a debutant but one with quite a bit of experience of competing on the big stage. He was a quarterfinalist at last year's world championships and won a bronze at the Asian Championships. Amit had claimed a gold at the Strandja Memorial earlier this year.

WRESTLING: India are second in the CWG all-time medal list of wrestling and are expected to dominate this time around as well.

Sushil Kumar: The gold-medallist from 2014 is making a comeback to big-ticket wrestling after an injury-hampered and controversy-filled two years. The double Olympic medallist would be aiming for another gold when he competes in 74kg men's freestyle event.

Sakshi Malik: The Rio bronze-medallist has been in good form and would be expected to better the silver medal she claimed at the Glasgow Games. She would be in action in the 62kg freestyle event.

Vinesh Phogat: 2014 Gold medallist, Vinesh suffered a career-threatening injury at the Rio Olympics but she returned to win a silver medal (55kg) at the Asian Championship and claimed the gold at National Championships. She would be a medal contender when she competes in 50kg this time.

SQUASH: A women's doubles gold in 2014 opened India's CWG account in squash and Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinnappa would once again look to ensure that India have something to celebrate but it remains to be seen whether a singles medal will come along too from either of the two and Sourav Ghosal in the men's singles.

WEIGHTLIFTING: World champion Mirabai Chanu (48kg), with a Commonwealth record under her belt, and a personal best which is 10kg better than her nearest rival at this event, is expected to open the gold rush for India.

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