Here are some of India’s best athletes who have recently gone through hard times—bad form and doping scandals—or just forced retirement, and are hoping that the Commonwealth Games will be the platform they need to revive their careers.
His five gold medals, a silver and a bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games earned him the moniker “Goldfinger”, but after failing to qualify for the finals of both the 10m and the 50m air pistol event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, his form dipped. He’s back for the 2010 Commonwealth Games with a blistering performance at the Commonwealth Shooting Championship in February, where he won two gold medals and broke the meet record for the 10m air pistol event.
Manavjit Singh Sandhu
The former World No. 1 in trap shooting is used to bagging medals by the handful, and won the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championship. But at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he could only finish 10th, and both 2008 and 2009 were barren years for him. He began 2010 determined to put that behind him, winning gold at the Commonwealth Shooting Championship, and gold at the trap shooting World Cup.
Nirupama Sanjeev Nee Vaidyanathan
She was the first Indian woman to play in a Grand Slam in the open era when she lost in the first round of the Australian Open in
1999. She was also a bronze medallist in mixed doubles (with Mahesh Bhupathi) at the Asian Games in 1998. The 33-year-old mother gave up tennis six years ago after health complications following her pregnancy, but got back into the game last year. A call to the national camp for the Commonwealth Games led to her qualifying for the Delhi event.
Laishram Monika Devi
She was India’s only weightlifter to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but a dramatic doping scandal just before the games meant that she was banned for two years. Her ban was lifted this June, and she qualified for the Commonwealth Games by a massive margin to set her career back on track.
The 27-year-old discus thrower won India a rare track and field medal when she claimed silver at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. But right after that Antil was embroiled in a doping scandal. The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) challenged the test, and a second test returned negative, clearing Antil’s name. But the national record holder pulled out of the 2006 Asian Games. Four years later, Antil has left the past behind, and is looking for her second Commonwealth medal.