Assured of a medal, the Indian lawn bowls Women’s Fours of Lovely Choubey, Pinki, Nayan Moini Saikia and Rupa Rani Tirkey spent a sleepless night on Monday as they kept thinking, talking and planning for their final against South Africa a the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The team had exceeded all expectations by reaching the semifinals for the first time and on Monday morning, came up with a brilliant performance to overcome a strong New Zealand side in the semifinals to assure themselves a historic maiden medal.
They had all the reasons to have a good night’s sleep as they had nothing to lose and everything to gain as nobody would have blamed them for succumbing to nerves as they were playing their first final.
But the players were determined that they would not let this opportunity go. Some of them did meditation to calm their nerves while others talked with friends and teammates to motivate themselves.
“We were ecstatic after winning the semifinal yesterday. Our confidence in our abilities had shot up after that win and we decided that we will have to replicate the same spirit and determination in the final. We decided we will go into the final with the same determination, same spirit, and same teamwork like we displayed against New Zealand,” said Rupa Rani Tirkey on Tuesday.
“But we could not sleep the entire night. We kept thinking how will people react if we lost the final. Such thoughts kept coming into mind but then we consoled ourselves telling us that whatever will be will be and that God will take care of everything,” said Rupa, who showed nerves of steel in the semifinals and final to win crucial points for the country.
“When we got ready for the final, we felt refreshed. It was a new day and we thought it was also the day that would bring our sport in limelight in India. We were very determined to win the medal,” she added.
The team’s lead and the most experienced player Lovely Choubey said the best thing about this team was the positive energy around them despite the negative thoughts over their narrow losses in the past.
“We were very determined to do well this time. We fell short by narrow margins many times and did want to do that again. The team had positive energy around it and we fed on each other’s determination to put up our best performance,” she said.
Lovely commended the Lawn Bowl Federation of India for allowing them the freedom to choose their combination and work together.
“I will have to thank my federation and coaches for giving us the freedom to choose our combination and practice together at the Yamuna Sports Complex in New Delhi and in Ranchi. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) too has been a great help and credit goes to them for showing faith in us,” said the Indian team’s lead.
The interesting thing in all this is that the team triumphed without the services of a coach. Anju Luthra, who is the designated coach here, is actually been with the team since 2008 when it was decided to put up the team in Commonwealth Games as India got berths in all events being the hosts.
This was the fourth Commonwealth Games for some of the players and for manager Anju Luthra.