Fireworks go off as rock star Ozzy Osbourne performs during the Closing Ceremony for the Commonwealth Games at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, England, on Monday. AP
As the day started at its usual time on a busy on Tuesday, the city of Birmingham woke up with a huge hangover caused by competition, celebrations, disappointments, heartbreaks, and emotional outbursts caused by an overdose of sports, sports, and more sports as the 22nd Commonwealth Games came to an end.
The Indian contingents are basking in glory as they pulled off some great performances to finish fourth in the medals table with 61 medals -- 22 gold, 16 silver and 23 bronze.
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Australia as expected topped the table with 178 medals (67-57-54) but were run close by hosts England, who produced their best-ever performance ending with 176 medals (57-66-53) while Canada were a distant third with 92 medals (26-32-34).
The most heartening aspect of India’s performance in Birmingham was the eight medals won in track and field with youngsters like steeplechase Avinash Sable, triple jumpers Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Aboobacker, walkers Priyanka Goswami and Sandeep Kumar, javelin thrower Annu Rani, long jumper Murali Sreeshankar and Tejaswin Shankar stealing the show.
Barrie Lester (right) receives the flag from Dame Louise Martin in Birmingham, England, on Monday. AP
India claimed eight medals in athletics including gold in the triple jump by Eldhose Paul.
The wrestlers and weightlifters, as expected, dominated the show, winning 22 of the 61 medals that India bagged. Wrestlers won 12 medals while weightlifters 10 but that was expected as the competition in both these sports is not tough at the Commonwealth Games level.
Still, the manner in which Bajrang Punia, Shakshi Malik, Deepak Punia, Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Vinesh Phogat won their gold medals was a treat to the eye.
They were dominant and did not give others the chance to come closer. Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik won her first medal in Commonwealth Games.
In weightlifting, Mirabai Chanu, Jeremy Lalrinnunga and Achinta Shauli won gold with impressive performance despite the poor standard. Sanket Sargar won the silver medal, injuring himself in the processing needing surgery.
The other gains for India were from the lawn bowl rinks where the team of Lovely Choubey, Rupa Rani Tirkey, Pinki, and Nayanmoni Saika won an unexpected gold in Women’s Fours while the Men’s Fours of Sunil Bahadur, Chandan Singh, Navneet Singh and Dinesh Kuma claimed a silver. India also came close to winning a medal in the Men’s Pairs event.
On the individual front, the veteran table tennis star, Achanta Sharath Kamal surprised everyone by winning four medals — three of them including the Men’s Team — gold medals. Sharath was in brilliant form, playing his role as India defended the Men’s Team gold. But the medals that were more satisfying were the Men’s Singles gold and the one in Mixed Doubles in the company of youngster Sreeja Akula.
Artistes perform during the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony in Birmingham on Monday. AP
Sharath turned the clock back by 16 years to win the singles gold medal beating Liam Pitchford of England. He had played six matches daily in the last couple of days and his victory in the singles gives an insight into this physical and mental strength that makes one excel in such a schedule.
Overall, the table tennis contingent, which had bagged eight medals in Gold Coast, could manage only five medals in Birmingham 2022 while para-TT star Bhavina Patel and Sonal Patel contributed gold and bronze to make the tally look more healthy.
The Indians did well in badminton too though the defeat in the Mixed Team final to Malaysia was a big dampener. PV Sindhu won the women’s singles title despite being troubled by a niggle in her Achilles.
The competing nations athletes watch the show during the Closing Ceremony in Birmingham, England. AP
The men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty too won their maiden gold medal in individual competitions.
Lakshya Sen showed class and determination in coming back from a game down to beat a strong opponent and claim his maiden Men’s Singles title. Srikanth won bronze medal.
In Birmingham, India won three boxing gold medals with World Champion Nikhat Zareen, Nitu Ghanghas and Amit Panghal triumphing in their respective weight categories.
Mohit Ahlawat got in squash, Saurav Ghosal won his first individual medal — a bronze in men’s singles. He also partnered with Dipika Pallikal Karthik for the bronze medal in mixed doubles.
The hockey teams was happy to win medals at the Commonwealth Games after going medal-less at Gold Coast in 2018 though the women’s team could have won a silver or even gold while the men could have avoided slumping to another humiliating defeat to World No 1 Australia in the final.
The Indian women’s cricket team bagged the silver medal as cricket returned to the sport for the first time after 1998.
McKeon, who powered home in the 50m butterfly, has now won four golds in Birmingham and has more than any other athlete in Commonwealth Games history.
Her victory in the Women's singles badminton at the Commonwealth took her to completing a hat-trick of medals at the Games with a win over Michelle Li of Canada in the women's singles final in Birmingham.
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