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Viren Rasquinha Counting on Hockey and Women to Bring India ‘Lost’ Medals at CWG 2022

Indian female athletes produced their best-ever showing at the Olympics with PV Sindhu, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and Lovlina Borgohain winning medals at the Tokyo 2020. With the 2022 Commonwealth Games starting from July 28 in Birmingham, a former Indian hockey star and CEO of the Olympics Gold Quest, Viren Rasquinha feels the best is yet to come.

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Rasquinha feels the growth the Indian women have shown over the recent years is a sign of the success they can get at 2022 CWG.

“In every sport, the improvement has been excellent. If you look at wrestling, boxing, weightlifting, hockey, I think especially the women’s players are doing so well. And the good and heartening thing is that new young names are coming up in every sport. Look at Nitu and Jasmine in boxing or Anshu Malik in wrestling, so a lot of good young names,” Rasquinha, who will one of the experts for the CWG broadcast, said during an online interaction on Friday.

Rasquinha though was quick to add that it may not mean an increase in the overall medals count for India at the Games though.

“In terms of the medal tally, it will not be our best ever because shooting is not there this Commonwealth Games. So that automatically takes away 16 medals from the medal tally. So, but we will definitely win a lot of medals. And if you take away shooting I think the percentage of medals will still increase by around 15 per cent in my opinion,” he said.

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“If we retain all our medals, then it will be approximately the 50 mark is what I feel will be the total medals. Last time we had 26 gold medals, I’m assuming from the 26, out of which eight were from shooting. So I I assume will be around that 20 to 22 Gold Medal mark and maybe close to 60 medals overall,” he added.

Hope From Hockey

As for hockey, Rasquinha feels the Indian men’s and women’s teams, who had returned empty-handed from the previous edition in Gold Coast, can surely bring home medals even though it may not be easy.

“It’s going to be tough for India to stop the Australian juggernaut. We have to take one step at a time. Do we have the capability to beat Australia? 100 per cent on any given day. The teams have been playing excellent hockey, from the Tokyo Olympics to the Pro League. We have the talent, calibre and temperament. It’s about performing on the day when it really matters. We must not count out England, Malaysia or Pakistan. Malaysia have troubled India on several occasions. Pakistan are improving under Siegfried Aikman,” the former India captain said.

“The big problem in the (Women’s) World Cup was conversion, of both field goals and penalty corners. That was a massive disappointment. It’s not that we didn’t create chances. Every match was close. They have to get sharper in conversions and that’s going to be critical. In hockey, no matter how much you dominate or how much possession you have, if you don’t score goals, it will be tough to defend for 60 minutes. The game has become so fast these days that it is hard to have a clean sheet,” the Arjuna awardee added.

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