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Lovely, Pinki, Nayanmoni and Rupa Rani’s new “Fab Four” win historic gold in lawn bowls


India’s women’s bowls team clinched a historic Commonwealth Games gold medal on Tuesday, as an unsung quartet took the sport from obscurity to stardom with their inspiring spectacle. The Indian team of Lovely Choubey (first), Pinki (second), Nayanmoni Saikia (third) and Rupa Rani Tirkey (captain) overcame a mid-game slump to beat South Africa 17-10 in the women’s four-way final.

The team had the nation hooked on the sport after their surprise win over New Zealand, and their incredible campaign ended in the best way possible. This is India’s fourth gold medal and first outside the weightlifting arena in this edition.

The Indian team was leading 8-2 at one point, but the South African team of Thabelo Muvhango (leader), Bridget Calitz (second), Esme Kruger (third) and Johanna Snyman (skip) made it 8-8 to spice up the competition. The Indians, however, kept their composure to pull away in the last three rounds.

The ‘leader’ of the pack, Lovely is a Jharkhand police officer while Rupa, who is also from Ranchi, works in the sports department. Pinki is a sports teacher at DPS RK Puram in New Delhi while Nayanmoni comes from a farming family in Assam and works in the state forest department.

Players now expect the gold medal-winning performance to “open the doors” for further progress in the game. Lovely, who turns 42 on Wednesday, said success in Birmingham would go a long way to elevating sport profile.

“We wanted to do something not only for this team but also for India. We knew that without a medal the doors would remain closed. Now the doors have opened. I thank the media, our federation, the IOA, our manager Anju madame for their support,” Lovely said. . “Anju madame gave us the freedom to choose our shots and make decisions. It made it easier for us,” she added.

Pinki, 41, was understandably thrilled. “The hard work finally paid off today, we made history. We knew the gold medal would create more impact, so we’re happy.” Nayanmoni Saikia said the team did not lose heart after the South Africans staged a comeback to make it 8-8.

“The captain (Rupa) told us we can do it because we are a good team. We must not lose our focus and enthusiasm, it will be done,” Saikia said. Team leader Anju Luthra says years of hard work have finally yielded happy memories.

“We were losing very close. I’ve been with this team since the 2010 Games. The margins of defeat weren’t very big in previous editions. We lost by one point and that didn’t let us sleep.” something this time. We made history and this is the luckiest (best) day in the history of Indian lawn bowls,” she said. Sports officer Rupa felt it was a game-changing achievement life.

“We had won medals in the Asia-Pacific and Asian Championships in the meantime, but we had to win that medal in CWG to get everyone’s attention. We came to the Games with a lot of determination,” she said. Asked what the team was thinking after reaching the final, Rupa said: “We were brimming with confidence.” “We wanted to keep the momentum going and go into the game with a lot of passion and determination. We couldn’t sleep properly thinking about what would happen tomorrow. There was tension. But I thought it was a new day, new beginning and I wanted to make it count,” she said.

Pinki said they have prepared better for these Games. “I meditated and we were focused on finishing the event. We didn’t want to get excited. The confidence we had yesterday allowed us to change the color of the medal. We also want to get medals in d other events, in CWG,” she said.

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