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Chopra, Sindhu And More – 5 Indian Stars To Watch Out For At The 2022 Commonwealth Games

Neeraj Chopra and PV Sindhu
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After their success at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, there are high hopes for team India heading into the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Over 200 Indian athletes will be competing across 16 disciplines in the 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games, and Team India will be looking to improve on their performance from the 2018 Games on the Gold Coast, where they finished third with 66 medals and 26 golds.

Here are five Indian athletes to watch out for at Birmingham 2022.

1. Neeraj Chopra – Track and Field


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India’s golden boy, Neeraj Chopra, rocked the world 12 months ago in Tokyo after becoming only the second Indian athlete after Abhinav Bindra to win an individual Olympic gold medal in the Javelin Throw event. The 24-year-old has gone from strength to strength since that historic feat at the Olympics, winning the silver medal at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland and Stockholm Diamond League while breaking his national record on two occasions with a personal best throw of 89.94 metres. Chopra is currently competing at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Portland, USA, before turning his attention to the Commonwealth Games next week, where he will look to break the 90m barrier at Birmingham and win his second CWG gold medal.

2. PV Sindhu – Badminton


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PV Sindhu has struggled on the global stage since her historic bronze medal win at Tokyo 2020, but the ace Indian shuttler made a roaring comeback on the eve of the Commonwealth Games after beating Asian Champion Wang Zhiyi to win her first Super 500 title at the Singapore Open. The world number seven has won a bronze and silver medal at the two previous Commonwealth Games in 2014 and 2018, but with no Chinese athletes competing in Birmingham, Sindhu will be the favourite to secure the top prize and continue her recent winning momentum on the world stage.

3. Smriti Mandhana – Cricket


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Women’s cricket makes its debut at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, with eight countries from across the world competing in a T20I competition at Edgbaston. Harmanpreet Kaur leads India’s 15-woman squad for the Commonwealth Games and the star cricketer to watch out for at Birmingham is opener Smriti Mandhana. The left-hander was India’s highest run-scorer at the 2022 ODI World Cup in New Zealand and is currently ranked number four in the ICC T20I batter rankings. The vice-captain averages 25 in T20Is at a strike rate of 120, and her partnership at the top of the order with Shafali Varma will play a pivotal role in deciding India’s fate at the Commonwealth Games.

4. Mirabai Chanu – Weightlifting


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Mirabai Chanu will be one of India’s biggest medal hopefuls at the 2022 Commonwealth Games after her blazing success at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Chanu became the first Indian athlete to win a silver medal in weightlifting in the Olympics, and the 27-year-old from Manipur will look to continue that success in Birmingham. Chanu has medalled in each of the past two Commonwealth Games in 2014 and 2018, winning silver in Glasgow and gold in the Gold Coast, and the weightlifter declared her confidence ahead of the games in an interview with the Bridge, stating, “CWG will be easy for me, I will be fighting with myself.”

5. Vinesh Phogat – Wrestling


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After the disappointment of losing out on a medal in the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year, Vinesh Phogat will be aiming for a comeback at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Phogat is a two-time Commonwealth champion, securing the gold in Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018, and the 27-year-old wrestler will be the favourite to make it three in a row in Birmingham against a relatively weaker field at the Commonwealth Games.