A memorable Commonwealth Games 2022 for India came to an end yesterday on 8th August. India finished the 2022 Games with a total of 61 medals, of which 22 were taken from the top step of the podium—putting India at a respectable 4th position behind sports juggernaut Australia, hosts England, and Canada. Interestingly, India upstaged New Zealand on the final day of the games as it bagged 4 gold medals—3 in badminton and 1 in table tennis. 

So how exactly has India performed this year in comparison to previous editions of the Games?  At first glance, it might appear that India’s performance in this edition has been at a lower level than in past editions, as the dip in the medals output compared to the 2018 edition in Gold Coast (66 medals: 26 golds, 20 silver, and 20 bronze) might suggest. It is also far behind India’s record tally of 101 medals (38 gold, 27 silver, and 36 bronze) in the 2010 Delhi Games. 

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However, a deeper analysis reveals that the picture is a lot more nuanced than that and that in some ways, India might just have enjoyed its best Commonwealth Games performance ever. This becomes evident on seeing the composition of India’s medal tallies from previous editions. For instance, India’s 101 medals in Delhi 2010 included 30 from shooting, 8 from archery, 7 from Greco-Roman wrestling, and 4 from tennis—all disciplines that have not featured in the 2022 Games. Eliminating all those events that didn’t feature in either Games, India would have won 55 medals in 2022, with 21 golds, but a mere 52 medals in 2010, with 17 golds down from 38. 

Likewise, in the 2018 Games, India won a total of 16 medals in shooting, including an impressive 7 golds, which means India’s performance in 2018 would also have been eclipsed by this year’s performance, but for the presence of shooting. Clearly, India has been heavily reliant on shooting to shoot up its medal tally in the past few editions. One can only speculate on how much more bountiful India’s final medal tally would have been had these events not been removed from this year’s Games. 

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This also shows how much India has improved in other disciplines over the years to overcome its reliance on a single sport to push upwards towards the traditional sports superpowers in a more well-rounded manner. 

The greatest contributor from this perspective was athletics. Despite losing Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra in the eleventh hour, India’s athletics team performed admirably winning 8 medals as compared to just 3 in the previous edition. India also earned medals in lawn bowls events for the first time ever; winning 2 medals, including a sensational gold in women’s fours. The Indian wrestlers brought home an extra gold as well this time around, as did our shuttlers led by the able PV Sindhu. A special mention must also go to the hockey teams who put the shock of 2018 behind them to win the silver and bronze in the men’s and women’s hockey tournaments respectively. 

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India also bagged medals in disciplines that featured in the Commonwealth Games for the first time, or after a break. Most notable was the debut of cricket in the Games, where the Indian women’s team earned an impressive silver medal losing out to Australia in a nail-biting final. Judo also made a return to the games after not featuring in the 2018 edition, and the Indian Judokas immediately made their presence felt bringing home 2 silvers and a bronze for their country.