New Delhi, Friday, July 29, 2022: India’s women’s hockey team thoroughly outplayed Ghana, even as the Men’s and Women’s Table Tennis teams and boxer Shiva Thapa got off to positive starts, as day one of the competitions got underway at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG).
The Indian women swamped Ghana 5-0, scoring in every quarter of the game, but coach Janneke Schopman would be wary of some wastefulness in front of the goal. For India peerless defender Gurjit Kaur scored a double while Sangita Kumari, Salima Tete and Neha also got on the board.
Early in the day, the Indian women’s Table Tennis (TT) team led by world number 41 Manika Batra, also beat South Africa by a comprehensive 3-0 margin. Reeth Tennison and Sreeja Akula started the rout beating Danisha Patel and Lailaa Edwards in straight games in the double before Manika made short work of Musfiquh Kalam winning 11-5, 11-3 and 11-2 to give India a 2-0 lead. Sreeja wrapped it up in the second singles with another convincing straight games victory (11-5, 11-3, 11-6) over Danisha Patel.
The Men’s TT team also had a similar result in their first Group 3 game as talisman Achanta Sharath Kamal, Sathyan Gnanasekaran and Harmeet Desai blanked Barbados by a 3-0 margin in the best of five tie.
Another good start came from the Boxing ring where former World Championship medallist Shiva Thapa looked in good form to beat Pakistan’s Suleman Baloch by a unanimous 5-0 margin. It was a Round of 32 bout in the 60-63kg (Light Welterweight) category.
The Mixed Team competition in Badminton also got underway on day one and India emerged comfortable 5-0 winners in their first Group A game against Pakistan with stars like P.V.Sindhu and Srikanth Kidambi easily winning their singles matches.
There was also some cheer for India in the Swimming pool as Srihari Natraj finished third in his heat to qualify for the semi-finals of the Men’s 100m Backstroke. Two other Indians in action in the Pool, Kushagra Rawat (Men’ 400m Freestyle) and Sajan Prakash (Men’s 50m Butterfly) however finished at the bottom of the pile in their heats.
Disappointment also came India’s way in the cricket field as the Women’s cricket team went down to Australia in a tight T20 game, a historic first in the history of the CWG. Batting first, India scored 154/8 riding on a brilliant half-century by skipped Harmanpreet Kaur. The Aussies won the Group A game by three wickets in the end with Ashleigh Gardner playing a blinder (52 no in 35 balls) to see her side through.
In Lawn Bowls action India’s Tania Choudhury lost both her Round one and Round two games as did the Men’s Triples Team of Navneet Singh, Mridul Borgohain and Chandan Kumar Singh. The Men’s Pairs Team of Sunil Bahadur and Dinesh Kumar also found the going tough against Malaysia.
India found the going tough in the Cycling Velodrome as well with the teams in the Men’s 4000m Team Pursuit finishing sixth, Women’s Team Sprint finishing seventh and the one in the Men’s Team Sprint, ending in sixth position.
India has three other engagements late in the day with Srihari Nataraj’s semi-final and young squash prodigy Anahat Singh and teammate Abhay Singh’s round one games scheduled late at night India time.