Commonwealth Games 2018 (CWG) held in picturesque Gold Coast have been particularly good for Indian athletes. Currently, India is ranking third in the medal tally with 20 gold medals, behind host Australia and England. India’s 218-strong CWG squad has delivered fine performances raking up 47 medals so far.
Adding another achievement to her impressive list, legendary Indian boxer “Magnificent Mary”, Mary Kom, won the gold medal in 45-48 Kg category. In her debut CWG appearance, she beat Northern Ireland’s Kristina O’Hara with 5-0 decision to claim the gold medal. Kristina lacked the finesse and experience of Mary Kom and was overshadowed by Mary Kom’s display of movement and skill. The 22 year old Northern Irish fighter was a bit ahead in the first round but Mary Kom outsmarted her in the next 2 rounds to claim the upper hand in the match on Day 10 of the CWG.
It must have been tough for the 35 year old, mother of three Mary Kom to compete against a much younger opponent who also had the height advantage over her but five-time World Amateur Boxing champion Mary Kom held her nerves to add the elusive Commonwealth gold medal to her list.
Another well known athlete who clinched the gold medal in the CWG, was Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar. He had earlier won a gold medal at the CWG 2014 held in Glasgow in the 74 kg category. Continuing his winning streak from the previous tournament, Sushil always looked in command. He convincingly beat Jevon Balfour, a Canadian wrestler in the first round. In the quarter final match, he defeated Pakistan’s Muhammed Asad Butt by technical superiority. He stunned the Australian fans by beating Australian Connor Evans in the first round itself. The Indian fans at Carrara Sports Arena witnessed three one-sided wins by Sushil Kumar who was in complete control and in destructive form.
The final against Johannes Botha ended in just 80 seconds. The crowd witnessed the complete domination of Johannes Botha by Sushil Kumar. Sushil defeated him with a 10-0 score-line, winning the final. This was the 3rd CWG gold medal for Sushil Kumar, adding to his wins in the 2010 and 2014 CWG. This was his second win in the 74 kg weight category.
Both these phenomenal athletes have one thing in common. They are in 30+ age bracket, an age which is the ‘beginning of the end’ for the majority of athlete’s careers. Today when we drown ourselves in the IPL frenzy which takes up a major chunk in ‘sports’ these days, we must take some time out to appreciate and acknowledge the contribution of these committed individuals.
Both Sushil Kumar and Mary Kom deserve praise and respect for fighting the age barrier and the neglect of the society to these less popular sports. India must appreciate these real champions who are pushing their limits to keep India’s flag high on the podium and its medal tally clicking.
Above all they prove – Age is just a number!