India's best ever haul at the Commonwealth Games
While Australia stamped their mark at the Commonweath Games, finishing top of the medals tally, it was the host nation's athletes' showing that won hearts, says our correspondent Harish Kotian.
Australia again proved their supremacy as they topped the medals table at the 19th Commonwealth Games in Delhi. This is the 12th time that they finished as the top nation, ending up with a haul of 74 gold medals, 54 silver and 48 bronze.
Saina Nehwal gave the hosts the perfect finish, winning gold in the women's singles, to help India narrowly overtake England and finish second, with 38 gold in a tally of 101 medals -- their best-ever finish at the Games.
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Image: India's flag being displayed at the aerostat during the closing ceremony
Kenyans set the track ablaze
As expected, Kenyan runners stole the show, winning 11 gold medals and completing four clean-sweeps, including the women's 800 and 1500m double for Nancy Langat.
Such was their domination that the Kenyan women won every event from 800m upwards.
Langat's feat was matched by Uganda's Moses Ndiema Kipsiro, who beat the Kenyans to triumph in both the 5000m and 10000m.
But Kenya wrapped up their campaign in Delhi in some style by winning both men's and women's marathons.
Image: Kenya's Silas Kiplagat (1579) celebrates after winning gold in the men's 1,500 metres finals
Australia dominated the pool
Australia dominated the pool with a huge haul of 21 gold, winning 48 medals overall in swimming.
Alicia Coutts bagged the most gold medals, five, with Emily Seebohm winning eight medals in total.
Australian Leisel Jones created history by becoming the first swimmer to win two gold medals in three consecutive Commonwealth Games. It also helped him equal the record set by fellow-Australians Susie O'Neill and Ian Thorpe for the most individual titles with 10.
England was a distant second in the pool, with Rebecca Adlington, Liam Tancock and James Goddard winning two gold medals each.
Image: Emily Seebohm celebrates after winning gold
Despatie signs off career in style
Alexandre Despatie brought an end to his Commonwealth Games career in style, completing a triple-double from the Springboard. He won the gold medal in both the 1m and 3m, to repeat his heroics from the 2006 Melbourne Games and Manchester Games in 2002.
Despatie, who also won the gold in the 3m Synchro Springboard, helped Canada win five gold medals, along with two silver and two bronze medals.
Pandelela Rinong Pamg won Malaysia's only gold medal in aquatics while teenager Tom Daley became the first English athlete in 28 years to win two gold medals in a single Commonwealth Games.
AQUATICS (SYNCHRONISED SWIMMING)
Canada proved their superiority, winning gold medals in both the solo and duet competitions, with Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon becoming the first athlete to win four gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.
Image: Alexandre Despatie competes in the men's three metre springboard diving final
India was superb in Archery
Hosts India along with England emerged as the two top teams in archery.
India bagged both individual gold medals and the women's team event and the men's team silver in the Recurve category.
England made a clean sweep in the Compound category as they stormed to victory in both team events and individual events.
Image: India's Dola Bannerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayla Devi celebrate after winning gold
Saina's gold was the icing on the cake
India proved they are a force to reckon with on the international stage, ending the event with two gold medals -- in the women's doubles and singles.
Saina Nehwal rallied from a game down to beat Mew Choo Wong of Malaysia in the final of the women's singles to become the first Indian woman to win a badminton gold at the Commonwealth Games.
Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa created history as they beat top seeds Singapore's L Yao and S M Sari 21-16, 21-19 to clinch the gold medal in women's doubles.
But it was badminton powerhouse Malaysia who took top honours in the event with a tally of four gold, winning the men's singles, men's doubles, mixed doubles and mixed team finals.
Koo Kien Keat was the star performer for Malaysia as she won three gold medals at the Delhi Games.
Image: Saina Nehwal reacts after winning gold
Boxers pack a punch
A last day surge by India was not enough to prevent Northern Ireland from taking top honours in boxing.
Northern Ireland won three gold medals and two silver as compared to India's three gold and four bronze.
For Northern Ireland, Paddy Barnes, Patrick Gallagher and Eamonn O'Kane took the gold, while Suranjoy Mayengbam, Manoj Kumar and Paramjeet Samota took the top honours in their respective categories.
Image: Manoj Kumar reacts after winning his bout
Aussies master the streets as well
There was no stopping Australia as they took 12 of the 14 gold medals in the cycling track to set a new Games record. They beat their own previous record of eight gold medals in a single edition of the Games.
Australia's sweep continued on the streets, with victories in the men's and women's Road Race through Allan Davis and Rochelle Gilmore.
Image: Australia's Allan Davis celebrates after crossing the finish to win the gold medal
Ashish Kumar created history for India
Australia and England were once the dominating force in the men's and women's artistic gymnastics.
Hosts India created history as they won their first ever medal in gymnastics through Ashish Kumar, who clinched bronze in the men's floor and silver in men's vault.
Lauren Mitchell won a total of five medals, including four golds and a silver, as Australia took gold in both the men's and women's team event.
Luke Folwell of England triumphed in the men's all-round and vault finals, while winning silver on the rings, parallel bars and the team event.
Australia's Naazmi Johnston, Chrystalleni Trikomiti of Cyprus and Elaine Koon of Malaysia were the top performers in the rhythmic gymnastics. They each walked away with five medals from the event.
Image: Ashish Kumar
The unstoppable Aussies
Australia underlined their domination in hockey, winning gold in the men's and women's hockey event.
The men's team crushed hosts India 8-0 in a one-sided final. The women's team beat arch-rivals New Zealand 4-2 on penalty strokes, after the match finished 2-2, to claim their fourth Commonwealth Games gold.
No other country has won the hockey event since its introduction at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Image: Australia's hocky team celebrates after beating India
South Africa steal the show
South Africa stole the limelight, winning three gold medals. Rob Weale of Wales finally managed to break his gold jinx by winning the men's singles event after finishing runner-up at his previous six Commonwealth Games appearances.
The 47-year-old also broke the record for most medals held by David Bryant of England, who won five medals between 1962 and 1978.
Natalie Melmore of England triumphed in women's singles following her victory over world No. 1 Val Smith of New Zealand.
Image: South African law bowl team competing against Canada
Flying Kiwis master nets
Defending champions New Zealand overcame stiff resistance from World champions Australia to triumph 66-64 in extra-time to win the gold medal in the fourth consecutive Games' final between the two countries.
England took the bronze medal after beating Jamaica 70-47.
Image: New Zealand's netball team celebrate after winning gold
Usual affair for Kiwis
There was no stopping New Zealand in rugby as they clinched a fourth consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medal.
The Kiwis beat Australia 24-17 to finish unbeaten in the competition and also take the gold medal in the Rugby Sevens.
Image: New Zealand's DJ Forbes (4) lifts team-mate Lote Raikabula at a line out during their gold medal rugby sevens match against Australia
Narang was king of show
India's ace marksman Gagan Narang finished with four gold medals despite failing in his last two events.
India's shooters took home 14 of the 34 gold medals for a tally of 30 medals overall to finish as the top nation in shooting.
Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra was beaten by compatriot Narang in the men's 10 metres air rifle. But the duo teamed up to win the 10m Air Rifle Pairs that also gave Bindra his third consecutive gold in the event at the Commonwealth Games.
Australian Alethea Sedgman, 16, shocked everyone by winning gold medals in the women's 50m rifle 3 position.
Vijay Kumar and Omkar Singh underlined India's prowess in the sport as they both won three gold medals each.
Gai Bin of Singapore was the top medal winner in shooting as the shooter bagged seven medals from eight pistol events, including gold in both singles and pairs of the men's 25m Standard Pistol.
Image: Gagan Narang with Abhinav Bindra
Clean sweep by England
The English men's team swept the singles with Nick Matthew, James Willstrop and Peter Barker taking the top three positions.
Malaysia's world No. 1 Nicol David lived up to her top billing to take the gold medal in the women's singles.
Image: Nick Matthew in action during Commonwealth Games
Singapore bag six gold medals
Singapore emerged as the top nation in table tennis with six gold medals to their credit.
The duo of Li Jiawei and Sun Beibei beat compatriots Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu in the women's doubles to claim Singapore's sixth table tennis gold.
It was Li's tenth Games medal and her third consecutive women's doubles gold.
Image: Singapore team with medals
Somdev outshines top stars
Despite the absence of their top stars, Australia were dominant in tennis, that made its debut at the Commonwealth Games.
Anastasia Rodionova was the star performer for Australia as she shocked local favourite Sania Mirza in the women's singles final. She also won the women's doubles to help Australia win two of their gold medals in tennis.
Somdev Devvarman clinched the solitary gold medal for India, winning the men's singles. The fancied duo of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes had to settle for bronze after losing in the semi-finals.
Image: Somdev Devvarman with singles gold medal
Faauliuli in the record books
Augustina Nkem Nwaokolo won the first gold medal of the Delhi Commonwealth Games when the 17-year-old Nigerian won the women's 48-kg weightlifting event.
That laid the foundation for the African nation, who finished with five gold medals for a total haul of eight medals from the event.
Faavae Faauliuli also created history when he won the first gold medal in Samoa's Commonwealth Games history with his victory in the men's 94-kg category.
Image: Faavae Faauliuli clinched first gold foe Samoa
India a force to reckon with
India were the dominant force in wrestling as they stormed to a record 10 gold medals in the event.
Sushil Kumar did not lose a single point in the tournament on his way to gold as India had a record haul of 19 medals.
Ravinder Singh (60kg), Sanjay (74kg) and Anil Kumar (96kg) gave India the perfect start with gold medals in the Greco-Roman category on the opening day of the event.
The Indian women's wrestlers also showed their prowess, with Geeta Kumari (55kg), Alka Tomar (59kg) and Anita (67kg) winning a gold each.
Yogeshwar Dutt, Rajender Kumar and Narsingh Yadav also clinched gold for the hosts.
Image: Sushil Kumar with the Indian flag after winning a gold medal