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Commonwealth Games 2022: Watch Out For India's Top Sporting Heroes

Known officially as the XXII Commonwealth Games and more commonly as Birmingham 2022, the 2022 Commonwealth Games is scheduled to take place in Birmingham, England, from 28 July to 8 August 2020 - twenty years after the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games and ten years after the London 2012 Games.

The Birmingham edition of the Commonwealth Games will include a women's T20I international, expected to draw attention from around the globe. There has been great interest in the T20I portion of the multi-national event, particularly from the local audience. The attendance at every game is expected to be high. 1.2 million tickets have already been sold, exceeding all expectations, and the India-Pakistan match has played a significant role in this.

India's Top Medal Contenders For CWG 2022

1. Neeraj Chopra - Javelin Throw

Neeraj Chopra is India's greatest hope for a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. In addition to competing at the Athletics World Championships before he heads to Birmingham, Neeraj will compete against Anderson Peters, the reigning world champion, who took bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games with a throw of 82.20m, while Neeraj won gold with a throw of 86.47m.

2. PV Sindhu - Badminton

PV Sindhu aims to win her first gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. In the absence of the 2018 women's singles gold medalist Saina Nehwal, India will focus on PV Sindhu, who is seeking her third consecutive CWG medal after winning bronze in 2014 and silver in 2018.

3. Mirabai Chanu - Weightlifting

In the history of the Commonwealth Games, India has won 125 medals in weightlifting. With 15 weightlifters heading to Birmingham, India will be hoping for another successful performance. In Birmingham, Mirabai Chanu is almost certain to win a gold medal, which would be her third medal in the CWG.

4. Ravi Dahiya - Wrestling

In the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics, Ravi Dahiya had flown under the radar. His silver-medal-winning performance last year caught the general public's attention. After winning the national trials in New Delhi, the bonafide wrestler qualified for the Commonwealth Games in the 57kg category.

5. Bajrang Punia - Wrestling

It will also be all eyes on Bajrang Punia, who aims to defend his Commonwealth Games title and win his third medal. While Bajrang earned a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, he will want to show strongly in Birmingham to indicate his intentions for Paris 2024.

6. Nikhat Zareen - Boxer

The world champion Nikhat Zareen will attempt to win her first medal at the CWG. A young pugilist is set to compete in the 50kg category at the Commonwealth Games. This is a great opportunity for her to emerge from Mary Kom's shadow.

7. Manika Batra - Table Tennis

Four years ago, Manika Batra won a historic gold medal in women's singles on Gold Coast against all odds. In Birmingham, the star paddler will seek to defend her title with more experience and composure at her disposal.

8. Murali Sreeshankar - Long Jump

India will have a large contingent at the Games, led by Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra. The long-jumper from Kerala, M Sreeshankar, qualified for the final and finished seventh at the recent World Athletics Championships in Oregon for the first time in his career.

8. Chirag Shetty-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy - Badminton

The duo played an important role in helping India win its first Thomas Cup title a few months ago. Rankireddy and Shetty will attempt to improve their performance in the last edition, in which they lost in the finals. Only a Malaysian pair is ranked higher than the twenty-somethings.

9. Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand - Badminton

During this year's All England Championships, held in Birmingham, the duo surprised many by reaching the semi-finals. To match the heroic feats of Jwala Gutta-Ashiwini Ponappa, India's finest women's doubles pairing, a medal would go a long way in boosting the team's morale.

10. Vinesh Phogat -Wrestling

Vinesh Phogat is undoubtedly a talented wrestler. Phogat looks to win her third consecutive gold medal at the Games as she puts her best moves forward on the mat.

11. Jeremy Lalrinnunga - Weightlifting

At 19, the Mizoram native is widely regarded as the bright star of Indian weightlifting. As a result of his gold medal at the Youth Olympics Games and another at the Commonwealth Games last year, he is expected to meet these expectations.

12. Achanta Sharath Kamal - Table Tennis

In addition to his eight Commonwealth medals, including four golds, the nine-time national champion hopes to add to his medal tally. However, he will be challenged by paddlers from Singapore who will aim to challenge Team India.

13. Dipika Pallikal - Squash

Pallikal won gold in the mixed and women's doubles events at the World Squash Doubles Championship with Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa. Expectations are sky high.

Story first published: Thursday, July 21, 2022, 14:42 [IST]
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