After a spectacular kick off at the Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast, the Commonwealth Games would groove into business from Thursday. The Indian team shouldering the hopes of million back in home will hope to begin their quest on a brilliant note. Badminton ace PV Sindhu, who also is one of India’s biggest hopes for gold in badminton led the Indian team out at the Parade of the nations in Gold Coast amid heavy applause from the audience as they welcomed one of the strongest Indian units in a few years at Commonwealth Games.
On the Day 1 of the games in Gold Coast, a number of big names including a host of medal hopefuls will be competing. World Champion weightlifter Mirabai Chanu who is one of the strongest contenders in her category will look to bag home the first medal for India. Among others who will be in focus would be Indian shuttlers and boxers along with women’s hockey team and star squash player Dipika Pallikal. Chanu who is a sure shot gold contender has set a personal record of 194kg which is 10 kg more than her nearest rival.
Competing in the 48 kg category, the 23-year-old who is the only Indian lifter to become a world champion after Karnam Malleswari will be one of the favourites to emerge on top as her no other lifter in her slot in the competition has a personal best or even close to 180 kg. Amanda Braddock of Canada, with a personal best of 173 kg is the nearest yet too far from the Indian. Apart from Chanu who will be an overwhelming gold prospect to take the stage tomorrow, the likes of Srikanth, Saina and boxer Manoj Kumar will also be kept a keen eye on.
The Indian badminton team will be in action against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the mixed event where the star shuttlers can expect an easy stride. Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth who have previously won medals at Commonwealth Games in 2010 and 2014 respectively will be taking the court against Pakistan in the morning. All eyes will be on Nehwal who after threatening the Indian Olympics Association (IOA) of pulling out of the competition over her father’s accreditation ensured that he got it all sorted and remained with her inside the games village as an official.
Meanwhile, in the boxing ring, CWG 2010 gold medallist Manoj Kumar (69kg) will become the first Indian to enter the ring. He will be up against Nigeria’s Osita Umeh trying to put aside the needle controversy and hit the first nail in the coffin for India. The needle controversy came to an end after team doctor Amol Patil was handed a reprimand for not disposing of syringes, used to administer multi-vitamins to one of the boxers, as per the stipulated norms.
India will also be hoping for a great start in squash with Dipika Pallikal, Joshna Chinnappa, Sourav Ghosal and Harinder Pal Sandhu kicking off their Commonwealth Gold Coast campaign tomorrow. Pallikal and Chinappa who had won the gold in the 2014 Glasgow games will be aiming to repeat the feat in singles. Meanwhile, the Indian women’s hockey team will be locking horns with Wales in the opener. The Indian eves had finished 5th in Glasgow 2014.
After rape allegations on Indian table tennis player, Soumyajit Ghosh saw him being dropped from the Commonwealth squad, the team will be looking to keep the controversies aside and let their racquets do the talking. In basketball, Indian men and women’s team will open their tournament account against Cameroon and Jamaica.
Here is the entire schedule of Indian athletes who will be participating on Day 1 (April 5, Thursday) in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia:
Artistic Gymnastics: Men’s Team Final and Individual Qualifications (09.08 IST onwards)
Team India: Yogeshwar Singh, Ashish Kumar, Rakesh Patra
Badminton: India vs Sri Lanka (Mixed Team Event Group Play Stage – Group A) 04.31 IST;
India vs Pakistan 14.31 IST
Basketball: India vs Jamaica (Women’s Preliminary Round Pool B) 14.03 IST;
India vs Cameroon (Men’s Preliminary Round Pool B) 15.30 IST
Boxing: Manoj Kumar vs Osita Umeh (Nigeria) (Men’s 69kg Round of 32)
Cycling Track: Women’s 4000m Team Pursuit Qualifiers (14.42 IST onwards)
Team India: Deborah Deborah, Amritha Reghunath, Sonali Mayanglambam,Monorama Devi Tongbram;
Men’s Team Sprint Qualifying (14.51 onwards)
Team India: Sahil Kumar, Sanuraj Sanandraj, Ranjit Singh;
Women’s Team Sprint Qualifying (20.51 onwards)
Team India: Deborah Deborah, Aleena Reji;
Hockey: India vs Wales (Women’s Pool A) 05.02 IST
Squash: Harinder Pal Sandhu vs Cameron Stafford (Cayman Isles) Men’s Singles Round of 64 (09.20 IST);
Vikram Malhotra vs Manda Chilambwe (Zambia) Men’s Singles Round of 64 (10.40 IST);
Saurav Ghosal vs TBD Men’s Singles Round of 32 (13.30 IST);
Joshna Chinappa vs Lynette Vai (Papua New Guinea) Women’s Singles Round of 32 (14.10 IST);
Dipika Pallikal vs Charlotte Knaggs (Trinidad & Tobago) Women’s Singles Round of 32 (14.10 IST)
Lawn Bowls: Pinki vs Jo Edwards (New Zealand) Women’s Singles Section D – Round 1 (04.30);
India vs Wales: Men’s Triples Section A – Round 1 (04.30);
Pinki vs Katherine Rednall (England): Women’s Singles Section D – Round 2 (07.30);
India vs Papua New Guinea: Men’s Triples Section A – Round 2 (07.30);
India vs Malaysia: Men’s Pairs Section D – Round 1 (11.20 IST)
India vs Northern Ireland: Women’s Fours Section B – Round 1 (11.30 IST);
India vs Malta: Women’s Fours Section B – Round 2 (17.30 IST)
Tables Tennis: India vs Vanuatu (Women’s Team Group 2) (05.00 IST);
India vs Trinidad & Tobago (Men’s Team Group 1) (07.30 IST)
Weightlifting: Women’s 48 kg (medal event) Mirabai Chanu (09.42 IST onwards)