While India is having one of the best runs at CWG 2018, less known is the Indian Railways contribution in this outstanding effort. Railway Sports Promotion Board’s (RSPB) 49 athletes and 4 coaches formed a part of the Indian continent in Weightlifting, Wrestling, Hockey, Athletics and Basketball and gymnastics forming around one fourth of the total contingent. Almost entire women hockey team comprised of Railway girls
It is a matter of great pride that forming 25% of the Indian contingent, RSPB athletes clinched 40% of the total golds won by India. In all the Railway athletes won 10 Golds, 1 Silver and 4 Bronze medals in these CWG games.
In Wrestling 7 railway wrestlers formed a part of the Indian team and every single one of them bagged medals for India a whopping 100% strike rate !!!. 5 Gold medals were won by Sushil Kumar, Rahul Aware, Sumit Malik , Bajrang and Vinesh while Sakshi Malik and Kiran bagged Bronze.
In Weightlifting 6 out of the 10 Railways’ lifters won a medal for India… 5 of them Gold. While Mirabai Chanu, Sangita Chanu, Poonam Yadav, Satish Sivalingam and RV Rahul got India the gold; Pradeep bagged a Silver.
In Boxing Manoj Kumar of Railways won a Bronze medal and Navjeet Dhillon put up a spirited performance winning a Bronze in Discuss throw.
The Railway Sports Promotion Board, which celebrates 90 years of its inception later in 2018, has been doing a yeoman’s job in promoting and nurturing sports in India. Not only does it provide a sustainable source of livelihood through its liberal recruitment policies, but also nurtures the sportspersons with round the year training, camps, diet, medical support and in their post playing years grooms them into coaches and technical support team. With an excellent infrastructure spread throughout the country and its in-house team of coaches and support staff, it provides an unparalleled sports eco system for the 29 games disciplines under its belt.
It is no surprise therefore, that in any international event nearly more than a fourth of the athletes are from Railways contributing to a substantial chunk of medals for India. Railways coaches, technical officials and support staff form the backbone of the National federations.
As far as Women’s Sports in India is concerned it would be no exaggeration to say that RSPB single handedly has supported the rise of Women’s Sports in India thus empowering them and encouraging young girls to pursue sports. One of the first organisations to raise women wrestling team in India, RSPB’s incentive policies including out of turn promotions, increments and the recent policy initiatives 330 days Special Casual Leave for outstanding athletes ; 3-4 camps followed by tournament exposure, off season training has paid rich dividends.