MELBOURNE: Pistol king Samaresh Jung’s five gold medals capped an eventful Commonwealth Games for India that swung between heart warming performances and shocking scandals.
A team masseur was charged for sexual assault before the Games began, two weightlifters failed dope tests midway through it, and the brightest stars of Bollywood rocked Melbourne to mark its closing.
In between, competitors piled up gold medals that few predicted could be won, and lost some that were there for the taking, but there was no denying India a place among the Games elite. India took away 22 gold medals, 17 silver and 11 bronze from Melbourne, finishing fourth behind runaway winners Australia, England and Canada. The shooters led the medal rush in Melbourne, taking 16 golds, seven silvers and four bronze medals with Jung dominating the ranges. The 35-year-old went into his last two events with five golds and a silver and well-placed to surpass Australian swimmers Susie O’Neill and Ian Thorpe’s Games record of six golds apiece.
But the man dubbed “Goldfinger” by Games volunteers at the shooting range managed only a bronze and fourth position subsequently.
But it was the unexpected success in other disciplines that delighted the country’s Olympic chiefs. Akhil Kumar won the 54 kg Bantamweight boxing title and three women’s weightlifters, Geeta Rani, Kunjarani Devi and Chanu Yumnam, won gold. The twin success in table tennis where India won the men’s team gold medal and Sharath Achanta took the individual title left the contingent stunned.
If only the scandals had not got in the way. Dewan Nabi, a masseur with the team, is facing charges of indecent assault on a teenage Games volunteer. Two male weightlifters tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol during an out of competition test before the Games started. Indian team sources identified the two lifters as Edwin Raju and Tejinder Singh.
India will host the 2010 Games in New Delhi.
The Indian Show
- Pistol king Samaresh Jung won seven medals, including five golds, to be declared the ‘Best Athlete’ of the Games. Indian shooters top tally with 16 golds
- Akhil Kumar won the 54 kg Bantamweight boxing title
- Women weightlifters win three golds
- Paddlers get two gold medals
- Long-jumper Anju Bobby George finished sixth
- Men’s hockey team ended a dismal sixth, including a dismal 1-4 loss to Pakistan
- Dewan Nabi, a masseur with the team, was charged for an indecent assault on a teenage volunteer
- Two weightlifters, Edwin Raju and Tejinder Singh, failed dope tests midway through the Games