The Indian women’s lawn bowls team bagged a historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday, an unheralded quartet pulling the sport from obscurity to limelight with its inspiring show.
The Indian team of Lovely Choubey (lead), Pinki (second), Nayanmoni Saikia (third) and Rupa Rani Tirkey (skip) overcame mid-match slump to beat South Africa 17-10 in the women’s fours final.
The team had got the nation hooked to the sport after its surprise win over New Zealand, and its incredible campaign culminated in the best possible manner.
This is India’s fourth gold and first outside the weightlifting arena in this edition.
The Indian team led 8-2 at one stage but the South African side comprising Thabelo Muvhango (lead), Bridget Calitz (second), Esme Kruger (third) and Johanna Snyman (skip) made it 8-8 to spice up the contest.
The Indians though kept their nerves to pull away in the last three rounds.
The ‘leader’ of the pack, Lovely is a constable with Jharkhand Police while Rupa, who too is from Ranchi, works in the sports department.
Pinki is a sports teacher with DPS R K Puram in New Delhi while Nayanmoni comes from a farming family in Assam and works in the state’s forest department.
The players would now expect that the gold medal winning performance will ”open the doors” for further progress of the game.
Lovely, who will turn 42 on Wednesday, said the success in Birmingham will go a long way in raising the profile of the sport.