Every multisport event produces a lot of fascinating stories. The Birmingham Games did the same. From a ‘Pollard’ at the Games to Pakistani weightlifters taking inspiration from an Indian achiever, CWG 2022 gave us several interesting moments. (More Sports News)
Let’s take a look at some:
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu – An Inspiration In Pakistan
As an Olympic medallist, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu has catapulted herself to superstardom and is not only an icon in India but also for weightlifters from the neighbouring nation. According to Pakistan’s Nooh Dastagir Butt, who won the men's 109+kg gold with a record lift of 405 kg, Mirabai Chanu is an inspiration to every lifter in his country. “We look up to Mirabai for inspiration. She has shown us that we from South Asian countries can also win an Olympic medal. We became so proud of her when she won the silver at the Tokyo Olympics,” Butt said.
We have seen cricket diplomacy between the two nations. Maybe now it’s time for weightlifting diplomacy.
Carrying on Family Tradition At 62
Fijian Table Tennis coach Steve Reilly turned player to make his Commonwealth Games debut at 62 in a bid to follow his father’s footsteps. Reilly competed in the men’s singles preliminary event. Named in Group 11, he lost both his matches to bow out of the competition but above all showed determination at his age. Eighty-four years ago, his father Jim had boxed in the 1938 British Empires Games (now Commonwealth Games).
Kieren Pollard in the house
A certain Kieren Pollard was in his very first Commonwealth Games in Birmingham but he is not a cricketer. The 23-year-old swimmer from Western Australia attracted a lot of attention as he shared his name with one of the biggest T20 stars to have come out of the West Indies. Pollard competed in the men’s 200m butterfly, finishing ninth in the heats, missing the final by a whisker. At least he swam. His namesake, on the other hand, sank without a trace in the IPL.
‘Ghar Ka Khaana’ At CWG 2022
Indian athletes and team officials stayed in three different Games Villages across Birmingham at Commonwealth Games 2022, but there was still a ‘homely feeling’ to the arrangements, said Indian gymnastics coach Ashok Mishra. With so many people from the Indian diaspora working as security officials, volunteers and even cooks, the Indian athletes felt they were in their own neighborhoods. Especially when one day there was Bhindi Masala on the menu. Nothing like desi food to make an Indian feel at home.
‘Pride’ Of Place
The Commonwealth Games 2022 threw open a ‘Pride House’ for the duration of the Games in the city’s official Gay Village. ‘Pride House’ pop-ups appeared in each of the athletes’ three villages. It was a space to view the competitions, experience the event with others, learn about LGBTIQ+ sport and LGBTIQ+ discrimination in sport, and build a relationship with mainstream sport. Dutee Chand, among India’s few openly gay athletes, also unfurled the LGBTQIA+ flag at the CWG 2022 opening ceremony. She was among the six other queer athletes and activists at the ceremony.