Did that really happen? Lawn Bowls medals, an athletics 1-2 and other stunning CWG 2022 results

Pinki, Lovely Choubey, Nayanmoni Saikia and Rupa Rani Tirkey celebrate India's victory in Lawn Bowls during the 2022 Commonwealth Games Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

All CWG medals are good but while many were expected, some were from completely out of the blue. Here are the performances that had us captivated, and in one case totally bowled us over.

Lovely Choubey, Pinki, Nayanmoni Saikia and Rupa Rani Tirkey: Lawn Bowls - Gold

Lawn Bowls was just another sport until July 31. By August 2nd, it had become the sport that everyone was talking about. The Indian quartet of Lovely, Pinki, Nayanmoni and Rupa became household names as they won India's first-ever medal in Lawn Bowls.

Read more: Bowling them over: Fab four rip up stereotypes to give India historic medal

What made them so endearing were their backgrounds:

Lovely: ex-100m sprinter and now a police constable
Pinki: former cricketer and now a PE teacher
Rupa: ex-kabaddi player and a district sports officer
Nayanmoni: former weightlifter and a forest officer

How this motley crew went about winning the gold and making all of us curious about the sport along the way was perhaps the highlight of India's CWG campaign. The Men's Fours team also won a silver three days after the Women's Fours team's historic campaign.

Avinash Sable: Men's 3000m steeplechase - Silver

Sable has always been good, real good. But no one expected him to be so good that he'd edge out two Kenyans to the podium. Kenya has maintained a stronghold in the men's 3000m steeplechase, winning every single medal since 1994, and were the favourites to complete the clean sweep this time too.

In comes Sable, in the form of his life, to not only break his national record for the ninth time but push gold medal-winner Abraham Kibiwot to the tilt and miss out on the gold by a mere 0.05 seconds. For context: 0.05 seconds is only a fraction longer than how long it takes for you to blink your eyes.

Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Aboobacker: Men's triple jump - Gold and Silver

Two Indians on the podium - an Indian 1-2 in an athletics event. When's the last time you saw that happen?

The triple jump was deemed as India's best shot at winning multiple medals in an athletics event at CWG 2022. Aboobacker and Praveen Chithravel were the only two jumpers in the field who had crossed the 17m mark this season and Paul was third on the list.

The question mark over their CWG showing was that Indian jumpers, despite being among the best in the field, have often faltered on the biggest stage. Not this time, though.

Paul, who had a personal best of 16.99m, leapt to a career's best of 17.03m to take the gold while Aboobacker completed the 1-2 with a 17.02m jump. Praveen narrowly missed out as he finished fourth, but this was India's first ever 1-2 in CWG men's athletics.

Priyanka Goswami and Sandeep Kumar: 10km race walk - Silver and Bronze

Priyanka and Sandeep have been the thickest of friends - they are India's best race-walkers, both train at the Sports Authority of India campus in Bangalore and are trained by the same coach in Gurmeet Singh. It was only fitting that both of them found a spot on the podium in their maiden CWG campaign.

Priyanka ran a career-best time to become the first Indian woman to win a medal in race walk and brought out her little statue of Lord Krishna for the medal ceremony.

Sandeep, who holds the national record for the men's 50km and 20km racewalk, was impressive as he too clocked a personal best to win bronze in the men's 10,000m event.

Read more: Priyanka Goswami and Sandeep Kumar take their friendly rivalry all the way to the Olympics

Tejaswin Shankar: Men's High Jump - Bronze

In one sense, Tejaswin Shankar's medal wasn't really a surprise. He'd been in good form this year, his season's best of 2.27m was a joint second-best among the athletes at the CWG 2022.

But the surrounding context makes his achievement much more creditable: he reached the UK hardly three days before the men's high jump final and had barely any time to acclimatize to the conditions there. That wasn't all the drama: His participation at the CWG was always under a cloud of doubt.

First, the Athletics Federation of India did not choose him in the Indian contingent, then he won a court battle to have his name included at the last minute, but the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) ruled otherwise. After a lot of dilly-dallying, the CGF approved his addition, but his UK visa formalities had yet to begin.

From watching the opening ceremony on his couch in New Delhi to winning India's first athletics medal at CWG 2022 a week later, it sure was a rollercoaster ride. Oh, and this was also the first time he'd put on the India national jersey in four years.

Read more: Accountant and now a CWG medallist: Tejaswin Shankar won bronze after winning bigger battle to reach Birmingham

Srihari Nataraj: Swimming

Srihari might not have medalled at the 2022 CWG, but he had the best campaign by an Indian swimmer at the Games.

He made it to the finals of the men's 50m and 100m backstroke events, finishing 5th and 7th respectively. He missed out on the podium by 0.26s and 0.25s respectively. He became the first Indian swimmer to compete in two finals at the CWG, where the field is heavily dominated by Australia and England.

Srihari was also in action in the men's 200m backstroke, where he finished ninth overall in the heats to narrowly miss out on a spot in the final. But that was not all - he scripted a new national record along the way.

Three events, two finals and one national record: a stellar campaign for the 21-year-old.