India at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games
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|India at the|
1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games
|CGA||Indian Olympic Association|
|in Cardiff , Wales|
|Commonwealth Games appearances ( overview )|
1958 was the fourth time India participated in Commonwealth Games . India won its first gold medal in these games. 
- 1 Medalists
- 1.1 Gold medalists
- 1.2 Silver medalists
- 2 Athletics
- 3 Boxing
- 4 Wrestling
- 5 References
Medalists[ edit ]
Gold medalists[ edit ]
|Gold||Milkha Singh||Athletics||440 yards|
Silver medalists[ edit ]
|Silver||Lachmi Kant Pandey||Wrestling||Welterweight|
Athletics[ edit ]
India won its first medal in athletics during these games. The legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh won gold in the men’s 440-yard run . India participated in at least 12 athletics events in these games.
Boxing[ edit ]
India participated in boxing for the first time, in the men’s lightweight division (60 kg) and the men’s middleweight division (75 kg).
Wrestling[ edit ]
India won gold in wrestling , with Lila Ram winning the men’s heavyweight division (100 kg). In the men’s welterweight division (74 kg), Lachmi Kant Pandey gave India a silver medal.
References[ edit ]
- ^ http://www.thecgf.com
- Nations at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games
- India at the Commonwealth Games
- 1958 in Indian sport
- This page was last edited on 4 April 2018, at 11:48 (UTC).
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Commonwealth Games: History and politics of imperial controlhttps://indianexpress.com/article/research/commonwealth-games-2018-gold-coast-history-and-politics-of-imperial-control-5123195/
Written by Adrija Roychowdhury | New Delhi | Updated: April 4, 2018 5:08:29 pm
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Two years after India achieved freedom, it proclaimed itself to be a Republic, thereby underlining the necessity of defining a new relationship with its erstwhile ruler, Great Britain. As per the London Declaration issued in 1949, free India decided to maintain its ties with their white masters by entering the Commonwealth of nations association.
“The Government of India have … declared and affirmed India’s desire to continue her full membership of the Commonwealth of Nations and her acceptance of the King as the symbol of the free association of its independent member nations and as such the Head of the Commonwealth.”
Unlike most other colonial powers of the world, Britain had a unique style of imperial control, that allowed significant self-government to its colonies. Post-independence, they saw it as a necessity to maintain cordial relations with their subjects. A most significant product of this need was the creation of the Commonwealth of nations, a free association of sovereign states that were previously under British rule and now saw the British Crown as its symbolic head.
The purpose of the Commonwealth was two-fold. On one hand, the independent nations considered the association beneficial in maintaining better political relations with a large number of countries. “We join the Commonwealth obviously because we think it is beneficial to us and to certain causes in the world that we wish to advance,” declared Nehru at the Constituent Assembly on May 16, 1949. On the other hand, it maintained Britain’s symbolic authority over its former colonies, while at the same time acknowledging their free status.
At present, the 53 member states of the Commonwealth of nations maintain links with each other through education, sports, culture, and literature. Perhaps one of the most significant demonstrations of the ties among the nations is the multi-sport event, Commonwealth Games, that is held once every four years. On Wednesday, as the 2018 Commonwealth Games is inaugurated at Gold Coast, Australia, we reflect upon the unique history and politics of this international sports event.
History of Commonwealth Games
The idea of an imperial sporting event dates back to 1891 when the clergyman John Astley Cooper suggested a “Pan-Britannic-Pan-Anglican Contest and Festival every four years as a means of increasing goodwill and a good understanding of the British Empire.” Though his suggestion did not bear fruits immediately, in 1911 the Festival of Empire was held at Crystal Palace in London to celebrate the coronation of George V. Australasia (a combination of Australia and New Zealand), Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom took part in five athletic events.
But the official forerunner to the current Commonwealth Games was the British Empire Games held in 1930 in Ontario, Canada. The Empire Games were replete with imperial rhetoric. Canadian daily, The Hamilton Spectator set out with much pride an editorial note stating. “From the outposts of the Empire on which the sun never sets have come the flower of the nation’s young manhood and womanhood, the fleetest and sturdiest of her sons and daughters.” South African newspaper, The Johannesburg Star described the games as a ‘successful family gathering.’
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In the ensuing years, the games have undergone significant changes. While 11 nations had contested in the games in 1930, the number has grown steadily over the years and at present, there are over 70 nations participating in the games, a few of which were not even part of the British Empire. The nomenclature of the games has also undergone changes depending on the political status of Britain’s relationship with her colonies. The British Empire Games of 1930 turned into British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954. In 1970, the name was changed to British Commonwealth Games while in 1978, the name Commonwealth Games was coined which continues to be in use to date. In the last 88 years, the games have been held every four years, with the exception of 1942 and 1946, when the games were canceled due to the Second World War.
Politics of Commonwealth Games
A unique characteristic of British domination over her former colonies is the fact that she never used military power to maintain control. Rather it was what has been termed as ‘cultural power.’ In other words, a set of ideas, beliefs, rules, and conventions were carried throughout the empire by imperial administrators, industrialists, military officers and the like. An obvious example of such cultural domination is the status enjoyed by the English language even today. However, a lesser explored field of such cultural domination is through the medium of sports.
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“In the case of Britain and its Empire in the last hundred years or so, sport played a part in holding the Empire together and also, paradoxically, in emanating the subject nations from tutelage,” writes historian Harold Perkin in his article, ‘Teaching the nations how to play: Sport and society in the British empire and commonwealth.’ He goes on to add that “few would deny that most of the sports and games the world now plays were first organised in the present forms by the British in the nineteenth century: association football, rugby, cricket, tennis, golf, rowing, track and field athletics and skiing.” Sports, in that sense, allowed Britain to decolonise on a friendlier note and also helped transform the Empire into a Commonwealth of nations.
Imperial politics has been part of the Commonwealth Games since its very inception. “The Empire Games created a venue for the exercise of imperial citizenship through ritual,” writes historian Daniel Gorman about the first games that were held at Ontario in Canada in 1930. Conditions for participation in the games included the need for contestants to be British subjects, they had to be resident of a country they wished to represent for at least six months, and they had to prove that they were amateur athletes. The choice of Hamilton as the host city was also significant since in many ways it symbolised the geographical center of the Empire.
In contemporary times, despite the disappearance of the Empire, the politics of Commonwealth is still evident in many ways. Most significant of course, is the way host countries are chosen. The overwhelming dominance of Great Britain and the former white dominions as hosts for the Games is noteworthy. It is notable that Britain tops the hosting list with six games, followed by Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. “Jamaica, Malaysia, and India are the exceptions to the hegemony of the imperial mother country and the former dominions,” writes historian Martin Polley. Interestingly, despite 18 African countries being part of the Commonwealth, the games have never entered the continent.
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Commonwealth Games: A turning point for Indian sport?
- 18 April 2018
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With 66 medals, this year’s Commonwealth Games marks one of India’s best sporting performances across disciplines. Suprita Das explains why this could be a turning point for Indian sport.
With an hour to go before her event, the gold medal bout for the women’s 50kg freestyle wrestling, India’s Vinesh Phogat wasn’t anywhere near the wrestling hall – instead, she was at the track and field venue at the Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast, Australia. None of the Indian women had won any gold medals in the past two days, and Phogat was her coach’s last hope.
At that moment though, it was more important for the wrestler to support her friend and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, a former junior world champion.
The two had met at a sports injury rehabilitation centre a couple of years ago, and had promised each other they would bring home the Commonwealth Games gold.
Chopra, 20, did not disappoint. He made history by becoming the country’s first javelin thrower to win a Commonwealth Games gold. His medal is only the fourth gold in the Commonwealth Games won by an Indian individual in a track and field event. Phogat couldn’t wait to jump in and congratulate Chopra before watching the Indian flag go up.
“That moment when the flag went up, and the anthem was played, I got goose bumps,” she says. “We had made a promise to each other, and at that moment I told myself that I just had to win gold as well.”
And win she did – her second gold from as many Games appearances, albeit in a different weight category.
India ended with 66 medals, in what was their third most successful Commonwealth Games outing after the 101 in New Delhi (in 2010), and 69 in Manchester (in 2002). Looking at the numbers, it’s just two more medals than the 64 won in the previous edition in Glasgow in 2014.
What then makes the campaign in Gold Coast significant or special?
More gold medals (26) were won than silver (20) and bronze (20). Also, medals were bagged in nine of the 16 disciplines that India participated in, winning gold in seven of them. And these medals were won without the backing and advantage that a home crowd gives, like it did in 2010, and occasionally, in events where they were least expected.
Hours after Chopra and Phogat’s golden show, Manika Batra, 22, found herself on the podium too, tears running down her cheeks, as the Indian flag went up. The image of the tall table tennis player throwing her arms up in the air as she bagged a historic women’s singles gold for the country is one that’s going to be remembered for a long time.
Table tennis turned out to be India’s unexpected success story at the Games, and Batra led from the front. In a week’s time, she won four medals – two of them gold – while beating Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, a multiple Olympic medallist who is ranked fourth in the world.
Table tennis in India has long been relegated to tiny columns on the sports pages, but that’s set to change. Until Saturday, when Batra made history, only one non-Singaporean player had won the women’s singles gold – New Zealand’s Chunlli Li in 2002, when the sport made its debut at the event.
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India also took home the most medals in the shooting category, where the age range of the winners was striking. From 15-year-old gold winner Anish Bhanwala to Tejaswini Sawant, the 37-year-old who snatched a gold and silver – all of the athletes triumphed while making and breaking previous Games records.
And therein lies the narrative of these Games for India – the numbers may show that this was the country’s third most successful outing, but the sheer diversity in the medals and medallists is what makes it extra special.
This year’s Commonwealth Games also announced the arrival of India’s next generation on the world stage, following in the footsteps of veterans and seasoned Games winners like wrestler Sushil Kumar and boxer Mary Kom.
There is scope and need for introspection though, especially in hockey where the men’s and women’s teams finished fourth, as they prepare for the Asian Games – a much tougher competition in some disciplines. Luckily for the athletes, they have four months until the Asian Games to fix their flaws.
But what about fixing the nation’s image vis-a-vis drugs and dope? India’s position in the list of countries most guilty of doping violations is the same as its position in the Gold Coast medals tally – third. The blatant infringement of the ‘no -needles’ policy that saw a triple jumper and a race walker head home early, needs to be acted upon with utmost seriousness.
Unless that happens, the joy of watching some of India’s most incredible talent may always have a shadow of doubt clinging on to it.
Suprita Das is an independent journalist and author based in Delhi.
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