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National Games

National Games: Three Talking Points from Goa 2023

Published at :November 29, 2023 at 12:56 PM
Modified at :December 14, 2023 at 12:17 PM
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The 2023 National Games in Goa proved to be a roaring success, generating a ton of feel-good stories throughout a fortnight of thrilling competition.

The 37th edition of the tournament – India’s national version of the Olympic Games – saw talented athletes claim medals across numerous different sporting disciplines.

With the National Games now in the record books, we take a look at three talking points from an event which also garnered plenty of interest from overseas.

National Games Shine a Light on Indian Sports

The Olympic-style multi-sport event, which featured athletes from 28 states and eight union territories, was described by organisers as a ‘remarkable event’.

Sports at the 2023 National Games were live-streamed extensively across several platforms, which served to increase the international audience over the two weeks.

Intriguingly, the event also attracted interest from the online gambling industry, with several sportsbooks in major betting jurisdictions offering odds on some of the top sports.

The golf tournaments proved to be particularly popular with punters in the Middle East, with the attention no doubt fuelled by Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf competition.

Some of the best sports betting sites for Arab bettors had a wide range of markets available during the National Games – a factor which has not been prevalent during previous editions of the event.

Increased coverage on online sportsbooks is undoubtedly positive for Indian sport – a point evidenced by the impact betting has had on cricket’s Indian Premier League in recent years.

Home Advantage Sparks Goan Medal Boom

The decision to stage the National Games in Goa did not meet with universal approval, with critics questioning whether the state was capable of successfully hosting the event.

More than 40 sports disciplines were included for the first time ever this year, which significantly ramped up the pressure on the organisers in Goa.

Several new sports disciplines featured in Goa, including golf, beach football and roll ball, while old favourites such as cycling were also in the mix.

Despite the weight of expectation hanging on its shoulders, Goa can reflect on a job well done after successfully demonstrating its ability to stage the National Games.

Home advantage undoubtedly worked in their favour, with Goan athletes claiming 27 gold, 27 silver and 38 bronze medals to finish ninth in the final standings.

That tally was in stark contrast to the five bronze medals Goa claimed at the last edition of the Games in Gujrat in 2022.

Rising Cycling Star Bemoans a Lack of Support

Track cyclist Triyasha Paul was one of the stars of the show in Goa, winning three medals, including gold in the prestigious 500 metres time trial.

The 21-year-old also claimed silver in the 200m and bronze in the Carrington event to showcase why she is viewed as one of India’s most promising young cycling talents.

However, despite previously winning 15 medals in international competitions, Paul was forced to switch allegiances from West Bengal to Delhi due to a lack of financial support from the state government.

“The Delhi government has rewarded me financially profusely for my performance at the National Games,” she told The Bridge. “They also assured me of monetary help for my future achievements in domestic events and participation in international events.

“I am willing to represent West Bengal again, as it is my birthplace, but I will do so only if they help me.

Paul is scheduled to compete in the 52nd Junior National Track Cycling Championships before embarking on her preparations for the Asian Championships early next year.

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