A missed Olympics, multiple controversies, even a fist fight at his trials, but Sushil Kumar swept away the competition at the Gold Coast to bag his third straight CWG gold and remind everyone just what he is REALLY known for.
Not just Sushil but MC Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, India’s greatest champions, and Olympic medallists, fought personal battles and completed comebacks to successfully climb on top of the podium at the Gold Coast.
1. Sushil Kumar
Coming back to Sushil, who doesn’t remember the controversy before the Rio Olympics that saw the two-time Olympic medallist denied an opportunity to fight for a third? Many though his career was done. But he came back at the age of 34 and won the nationals last year, again under controversial circumstances with many of his opponents giving him a walkover.
Then, there was the trials for the Gold Coast where a fight broke out between an opponent’s supporters but on 12 April in Australia, Sushil showed everyone just why he’s India’s greatest wrestler.
Not one point was conceded in his four bouts to gold as he won three by technical superiority. He was back on a major podium with a gold around his neck, silencing all his critics, giving us hope for 2020.
2. MC Mary Kom
Then there is MC Mary Kom. Champion Mary Kom. Last seen in action during the qualifiers of the Rio Olympics, many thought her boxing days were behind her. A sitting Rajya Sabha MP, a mother of three, successfully running a boxing academy in Imphal, Mary was seen playing many roles over the last two years. Till she decided she wasn’t done.
In 2017, at the age of 35, she made a comeback and won her fifth Asian Championship title – then there was the Gold Coast games. Blanking out her opponents, Mary won a gold on her CWG debut and more importantly, promised us more.
3. Saina Nehwal
Another fighter who refused to relent, Saina Nehwal played 11 matches in 10 days, remained unbeaten and added 2 golds to India’s tally – a first-ever mixed team crown in which she played all singles matches… and also the women’s singles gold in which she beat PV Sindhu in the final.
This, even as she has been struggling with injuries over the last year. This, even as her campaign started with a major controversy after her father was denied accommodation in the Games village even though Saina said she had paid for him herself and later in an email to the IOA appeared to even have threatened to pull out of the Games.
Who was right or wrong in this, is still up to everyone to decide but why the IOA doesn’t have a clear diktat on the matter, a clear blanket rule on players being accompanied by family, is a question that will need to be addressed soon.