India yet to get a medal in 8 of 17 CWG disciplines
New Delhi: Indian athletes have traditionally done well in the medal standings of the Commonwealth Games but of the 17 sporting disciplines in the event, there are eight in which this edition`s host country is yet to open its account.
Since the inaugural Hamilton Commonwealth Games in 1930, India have bagged 271 medals and shooters and weightlifters have notched up the bulk of them for the country.
India, ranked fifth in the all-time CWG medals tally, have won 71 medals, including 38 gold, in shooting.
The dope-tainted discipline of weightlifting has fetched India 93 medals, including 33 gold. However, there are eight disciplines where India are struggling to make a mark.
Not just the medals, even the records made by Indians are limited to shooting and weightlifting. The country holds 15 Games records in shooting and 20 in weightlifting.
No Indian athlete from any other sport holds a CWG record.
With home advantage this time around, out of the 17 sports disciplines in the Games, India would be aiming to make a podium debut in Aquatics (swimming, diving), Archery, Cycling, Gymnastics, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Rugby Sevens and Squash.
Though India`s overall performance at the Games has improved over the past two editions, but when it comes to sports like swimming, India trail the leaders by hundreds of medals.
Australia leads the swimming tally with 557 medals whereas, India have none.
Cycling, which has been part of the Games ever since it 1934, has never seen an Indian featuring on the podium. Out of 413 medals won in this discipline so far, the score of this year`s host country is zero.
Experts attribute the poor performance to the lack of proper training for athletes. They feel that the Indian government does not invest as much money in the training programs of the athletes as other countries do.
"Swimming Australia has multi-million dollar programs for its swimmers, here we have to beg for resources," says national swimming coach Nihar Ameen, who is currently training a 26-member contingent for the Games.
Even on home turf, the coach doesn`t sound very hopeful of a medal.
"It is an outside chance because we have to deal with highly seasoned players," Ameen said.
India`s medal chances in cycling are slimmer after two of the main participants contracted dengue in the run up to the Games.
"The standard of competition is very high, we have world champions from countries like England taking part," said the Director administration of Cycling contingent, Amar Singh when asked why Indian cyclists have failed to make an impact in CWG.
He also blames official apathy for the poor performance of the cyclists.
"The major reason for our failure is equipment; even now we haven`t received any equipment," said Singh.
Though he is hopeful of a medal this time, he is quick to add, "had the riders got the equipment earlier, we would have been closer to winning a medal."
Former hockey player Viren Rasquinha feels Indians lack in fitness to do well in sports where endurance and speed are decisive.
"A case in point being shooting which is not a physical sport. The country`s shooters have done everyone proud. Or take for instance boxing, weightlifting, which are physical sports but in which the power element is balanced because of weight-wise categories unlike swimming or cycling," he explained.
Rasquinha is part of the "Olympic Gold Quest", a non-profit organisation established by legends such as Geet Sethi, Prakash Padukone and others to assist "potential" gold medal winners.