India eyeing 75 medals, third spot in Games: Lalit Bhanot

"We won 52 medals in the (2006) Melbourne Commonwealth Games, the best Indian tally in the history of the Games, and secured the fourth position," Bhanot said in an interaction with mediapersons here. "But, this time we are sure to get the third spot with over 75 medals. However, our effort will be to secure the second position after Australia," he said.

"In Melbourne, we won two silvers in athletics. This time, maybe we can hope for six to eight medals," he said adding that with participation by top Jamaican, Kenyan, Australian and English athletes, the athletics events in the Commonwealth Games are usually of world championship levels.

According to chef-de-mission of the Indian contingent Bhubaneswar Kalita, India's medal chances lie in shooting, archery, boxing, wrestling, swimming, weightlifting and tennis. "However, our athletes are preparing for all the 17 events and we will improve upon our last medal tally (in the 2006 Games)," he said.

Asked what advantages the Indian players held on home turf, the chef-de-mission said: "One, of course, is the climate as our players will be performing in conditions they are used to. Then, our players have access to the Games grounds for training. And then, there is support from the home crowd."

On the Indian players' training, Kalita said that most of the players have participated in world championships of their respective disciplines ahead of the Oct 3-14 Games. "Our players have faced most of the foreign competitors who will be coming here. We will put up a tough fight," he said, adding that foreign coaches have been roped in for many of the 17 disciplines.

With nearly 490 players and athletes, India would be fielding its largest ever Commonwealth Games contingent in the New Delhi Games, Kalita said. The final list of the Indian contingent will be announced in the next one week, he said. "Add to that officials, coaches and physiotherapists, the total strength of the Indian contingent will be over 700," he said.

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