The Indian women’s fours team assured the nation of a first-ever lawn bowls medal after going through to the final at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, UK.
The team of Lovely Choubey, Pinki, Nayanmoni Saikia and Rupa Tirkey beat the fancied New Zealand 16-13 in a gripping contest at Victoria Park in Royal Leamington Spa. The Kiwis have won 40 CWG medals in the sport, including 13 gold medals. Overcome by emotion and a sense of achievement, the Indian players broke into tears after the win.
"We cannot express our feelings in mere words. We have fought as a team and now our journey doesn't end here," Rupa Tirkey pointed out.
India had a challenging start as they trailed 5-0 after the first two ends and only registered their first point after the third end, making it 5-1.
It seemed to spur them on as they slowly drew level with the Kiwis, making it 6-5 after the seventh end and India took the lead for the first time after the eighth end, going up 7-6.
That soon became 10-7 for India after the 10th end but they were unable to score any points in the next two ends, as New Zealand led 12-10 after the 12th end. The Indians levelled it up to 12-12 after the next end but the Kiwis had a narrow 13-12 lead after the 14th end.
However, in the 15th and final end, India took the narrower lines and surged ahead to make a historic final and guarantee themselves at least a silver medal.
"I had full confidence on the last bowl, I said 'you can do it, you can do it' and Rupa proved it and we won the four points to win," team manager Anju Luthra said.
The Indian team will now take on South Africa, who beat Fiji in the other semi-final, for the gold medal on Tuesday.
"We have to play in a similar fashion against South Africa and do what hasn't been done before!" Rupa Tirkey said.
The men’s singles, men’s fours, women’s pairs and women’s triples in lawn bowls at CWG 2022 will all begin on Tuesday.