India has done well at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast, Australia, coming third behind Australia and England, winning 66 medals. The biggest surprise was the rise in the number of golds from 15 at the last games in Glasgow to 26 at Gold Coast. Wrestling, weightlifting, shooting, boxing, badminton and table-tennis saw Indians emerge as champions. Table-tennis proved a veritable goldmine with India winning medals in all seven events, with the young Delhi player, Manika Batra, winning four medals, including a team gold and a singles gold for self.
In badminton too, the Hyderabad-based duo of Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu held its own, with the former beating the latter for the singles gold. Our boxers and wrestlers, the most prominent ones hailing from Haryana, did well. But despite the jubilation, there is little time to be wasted with the Asian Games set for August-September in Jakarta, Indonesia. Here the competition will be tougher, with the Chinese and the Indonesians particularly offering a huge challenge, especially in table-tennis and badminton, the two fields Indians did very well in Australia. Without doubt, the officialdom, including the government and sporting bodies, has begun to pay attention to the development of team and individual sports. This needs further impetus. Though the private sector has begun to contribute to the development of sports, more needs to be done to encourage a sporting culture in the country.