Day 1 of the Commonwealth Games was a good one for India, with Srihari Nataraj qualifying for the men’s 100m backstroke final as the cherry on the cake. In badminton, PV Sindhu starred as India thrashed Pakistan 5-0 in a Mixed Team Group A match. Apart from Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and the three doubles teams also won their respective rubbers against Pakistan. The Indian women’s hockey team too started its campaign with a 5-0 win over Ghana. In another major win by an Indian, boxer Shiva Thapa defeated Pakistan’s Suleiman Baloch 5-0 in 63kg. The Indian women’s TT team started off the campaign with a bang by defeating South Africa 3-0 in their first group match and then registering a 3-0 win against Fiji in their second game, while the men’s team beat Barbados and Singapore. Anahat Singh, 14, won her squash Round of 64 match against Jada Ross from St Vincent and the Grenadines, while Abhay Singh beat Joe Chapman from British Virgin Islands in his Round of 64 match. India, however, tasted defeats in lawn bowls, swimming (50m butterfly and 400m freestyle) and cycling events. Also, the India women’s cricket team lost to Australia by three wickets.
India’s youngest athlete at the Commonwealth Games, 14-year-old squash player Anahat Singh, made a winning start in the women’s singles competition on Friday. Anahat was too good for Jada Ross of St Vincent and the Grenadines, completing an 11-5 11-2 11-0 win in the round of 64. “It’s really exciting and so much fun,” Anahat said after her winning start. “It’s my first senior tournament, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I got more confident as the match went on. I had nothing to lose. “A lot of my family are here and they were all cheering really loudly,” she added. Hailing Anahat’s court sense, coach Chris Walker said: “She has great problem-solving skills. She is very smart, has good court sense and great racket work. “At 14, you just want to help that talent grow. The short period of time I’ve been working with her has just been tremendous fun. “It’s so exciting for the future. She is a lovely girl,” he added.
India’s men and women table tennis teams had easy starts to their respective campaigns with twin wins each in their group matches in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Friday. Both the teams recorded identical 3-0 victories in their respective matches. The men’s team first beat Barbados before thrashing Singapore while the women’s side prevailed over South Africa and Fiji. In a group 3 outing against minnows Barbados, the men’s pair of Harmeet Desai and G Sathiyan steamrolled Kevin Farley and Tyrese Knight 11-9, 11-9, 11-4, while veteran Sharath Kamal made short work of Ramon Maxwell 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 in less than 15 minutes. Sathiyan then hardly broke a sweat before disposing off Tyrese Knight 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 to seal the tie.