Members of the Indian squad for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2022 oozed confidence ahead of their departure, in a glittering and warm send-off ceremony held at a city Hotel by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), the governing body for Olympic sports in India. Leading the country in providing best wishes and encouragement to the squad members was the Chief Guest on the occasion Shri. Anurag Thakur, Hon. Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) and Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.
Among other key dignitaries present was Shri. Nisith Pramanik, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs and MYAS, Government of India, Shri. Sandeep Pradhan, Director General, Sports Authority of India as well as Mr. Anil Khanna, Acting President, IOA.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia, P.R. Sreejesh, Manpreet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, and Lovlina Borgohain were some of the star members present at the ceremony from among the 215-strong squad. Some other prominent athletes present included the likes of Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik, sprint stars Dutee Chand and Hima Das, Asian Boxing Championships Gold Medalist Shiva Thapa, and boxer Amit Panghal, among others.
The ceremony also saw the official kits for the squad being unveiled. The IOA has roped in JSW Inspire, who are also the Principal Sponsors of the squad, as kitting partners for the travel and playing kits. Manyavar has got on board as ceremonial kitting partner while Adidas is the official performance footwear partner of the squad.
Delivering his address as Chief Guest, Shri. Anurag Singh Thakur said, “Today with the vision and tireless efforts of our popular Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi, Indian sports have reached a higher level globally. The performance at last year’s Olympic Games was our best ever and we have seen the improvement of our athletes across sports in recent times with our own eyes. The historic Thomas Cup win was one such occasion.”
He added,” This Indian CWG squad is definitely our best and strongest ever and I am confident that all our athletes will make India proud at a global stage yet again, the number of medals they win notwithstanding. We are all proud of them and the whole country will be behind them, whether in victory or in defeat. We wish you all the very best.”
The Hon. Minister also revealed that he was extremely happy that the CWG squad had attained gender balance with 108 men being accompanied by 107 women athletes.
Also addressing the gathering was Shri. Rajeev Mehta, Secretary General, IOA, who said, “We are confident of a strong performance by the squad. Their training and preparations have been top class and the Government of India and the Ministry of Sports have left no stone unturned to ensure that we put our best foot forward for the Birmingham CWG. I humbly express my gratitude towards them and wish all our athletes, coaches, and support staff a hugely successful Games.”
Shri. Mehta also announced prize money on behalf of the IOA for the medal-winning athletes at the Birmingham Games. The gold winners will be awarded a cash prize of INR 20, 00,000 while INR 10, 00,000 has been earmarked for silver winners. Bronze medal winners will be awarded INR 7, 50,000.
Some members of the squad are either already in the United Kingdom for acclimatization, training, or competition as the case may be, or are engaged in their professional assignments around the world and will reach Birmingham directly.
India had won a total of 66 medals including 26 gold in the Games’ previous edition in Gold Coast, Australia four years ago, to finish a creditable third behind traditional powerhouses Australia and England. Over 90% of the medals including 25 of the 26 gold came from the six sports of Badminton, Boxing, Shooting, Table Tennis, Weightlifting, and Wrestling. Athletics, Parasports, and Squash were the other medal-winning sports for India.
Shooting, which gave India as many as 16 medals at the Gold Coast Games including seven gold, is no longer a part of CWG 2022, however, for the very first time Women’s Cricket has been included and India will fancy their chances in the country’s most popular sport.
Besides Indian squads in traditionally strong sports like Badminton, Boxing, Hockey, Weightlifting and Wrestling are considerably stronger than in previous years if recent results are anything to go by together, should make up for Shooting’s loss.
The Indian CWG squad has Adani Sportsline as the Principal Sponsor while JSW Inspire as the Principal & Kitting Sponsors. Herbalife Official is the Nutrition Partner Manyawar is the Ceremonial Kitting Partner & Adidas is the performance footwear partner. INOX & Amul are Associate Sponsors, Borossil as Hydration Partners, and SFA as Sports Ed-Tech Partner.