By Astik Raj
The Indian contingent is ready to participate once again at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Given the history of the Asian Games, whose idea was proposed by an Indian himself, Guru Dutt Sondhi, this sports meet becomes very important for the athletes and the sports fans in the country. It is considered as the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.
Also, India, ranked 5th in the all time medal list, is one of the seven countries which has participated in every edition of this tournament.
India will field 634 athletes at the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou across 38 different sports. The largest contingent will be in athletics with 65.
India won a record 70 medals (16 gold, 23 silver, 31 bronze) at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games to finish eighth on the table.
After a very improved performance in the last Olympic Games at Tokyo in 2021, where India got its first gold medal in athletics, this time, India promises to create history in a number of events.
Let us have a look at the events in which India is a good contender to win a medal.
The biggest news about India’s participation in the event which has produced medals not only in the Asian Games but also at the Olympics, is that
Vinesh Phogat (women’s 53kg) and Ravi Kumar(men’s 57kg) are not going to participate this year.
Still, India has got their gold medal hopes in the forms of Bajrang Punia (men’s 65kg) and Deepak Punia(men’s 86kg).
There are other wrestlers too who have got the ability to win the gold for their first times as always Indian wrestlers have done in the past.
Olympic silver medalist Mirabi Chanu Saikhom is a contender for the gold medal spot in women’s 49kg in weightlifting after having a great outing at the previous year’s Commonwealth games. However she will face stiff competition at the games. India has only a two member squad for the games.
Even though India has got a very slim chance to win a gold medal at this stage, former Indian tennis legend Leander Paes believes, in men’s doubles, we have a good opportunity of doing well.
After having a great season with Mathew Ebden at the US Open, Rohan Bopanna would certainly want to repeat that with his Indian counterpart. Given the way Sumit Nagal, he just entered his third Challengers final after winning on last two occasions he for sure brings a lot of positive energy. Ankita Raina has also shown good form, so mixed doubles also is a hope.
Gold medal for India in table tennis is a very far dream for India especially because of the presence of the Chinese paddlers. Still, India has got a fair chance to go for a medal as in the men’s team event.
Another bright chance is in Mixed Doubles but Sathiyan-Manika seems to have lost some form
A total of 21 shooters – 11 in pistol and 10 in rifle – will be travelling for the Hangzhou Asian Games.
India’s great success at the recently concluded ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Shooting Championships assures a good hope for gold medals in different events of shooting.
Rudrankksh Patil, Arjun Babuta, Kiran Ankush Jadhav and Manu Bhaker have got good chances. Mehuli has also shown tremendous improvement in recent times.
The Indian men’s kabaddi team won the Asian championships title beating Iran in the final, making them favourites to win the gold at the Asian games.
Indian women’s team too, are the favourites to win the Asian games.
Remember these are the two golds which were never challenged until last time when India failed to get even one.
The Olympic Bronze medalist Indian men’s team are the number 1 ranked hockey team in Asia who have got great recent successes.
The women’s team has got the results too recently making both of them favourites to win the gold medal.
After a heartbreaking fourth finish in the Olympic Games at Tokyo, Aditi Ashok along with Anirban Lahiri would love to taste the gold at the Asian games.
With the inclusion of cricket for the first time, the most popular sport in India.
It won’t be too ambitious to say that India has been assured of two medals, both the Men’s and the Women’s team at the Asian Games.
The fans just have to wait to see what colour the medal is going to be.
From the recently concluded FIDE World chess championship, Indian chess contingent has got a lot of success and confidence participating in the Asian Games, with good medal hopes from Gukesh D and Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa.
Just like wrestling, boxers always produce medals for India be it the Olympics or the Asian games.
Once again, India has got their hopes held on Nikhat Zareen – Women’s 50kg, Lovlina Borgohain – Women’s 75kg, Shiva Thapa – Men’s 63.5kg and others.
Indian male shuttlers, especially HS Prannoy, Lakshya Sen and the duo of Chirag Shetty and Sai Rankireddy have been in great touch in the recent BWF tournaments.
But, getting a gold medal in a sport dominated by Asians is very tough at this stage and also the recent form of PV Sindhu is a concern for India. Still, there are good medal hopes for this sport.
There is no stopping the great Neeraj Chopra at this stage, after what he has done in the last 2 or 3 years, but meanwhile there have been other athletes too who have been chipping in with the good performances at the world level.
Murali Sreeshankar – Men’s long jump, Jeswin Aldrin – Men’s long jump, Avinash Sable – Men’s 3000m steeplechase, Tejaswin Shankar – Men’s decathlon, Parul Chaudhary – Women’s 3000m steeplechase, Annu Rani – Women’s javelin throw and the recently famous quartet for Men’s 4×400 relay race.
All of them have good seasons recently, giving India a good chance to grab some more medals in the sport where India has got the maximum medals in the history of Asian Games
Indian archers have enjoyed a commendable performance at the Asian Games, securing a notable position by ranking fifth in the overall archery medal standings at the event.
Both in the individual and team events, India has got chances of medals from the likes of Atanu Das and Jyothi Surekha. The recent success of Prathamesh, Ojas and Aditi makes it a very strong compound squad.