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Asian Games 2018: An analysis of India's medal chances in athletics

Lokesh M. E
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
10.10K   //    25 Jul 2018, 23:32 IST

ATHLETICS-CGAMES-2018-GOLD COAST-PODIUM
Neeraj Chopra will be India's best bet for a gold medal

In the recently concluded 58th National Inter State Senior Athletics Championships, which also served as the qualification event for the upcoming Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia, there was an overall improvement in the performance of young Indian athletes. We can be confident that India will add more medals to the kitty in the 2018 Asian Games in athletics.

Let us compare the performances of Indian athletes at the 58th Nationals with the medal winners of the 2014 Asian Games and the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships. This will give us an overall idea of what to expect from the Indian Athletics contingent in Jakarta.

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400m: Mohammad Anas was a default selection, based on his CWG 2018 performance. His personal best of 45.28 would have got him the Silver medal in the 2014 Asiad.

Arokiya Rajiv finished the race in 45.78 seconds at the 58th Nationals. It would have got him the bronze medal in 2014 Asian Games. We can expect one of these names or both to appear in the medal table.

Expectations: Minimum 1 medal , maximum 2

800m: Jinson Johnson of Kerala set a new national record at the 58th Nationals with the time of 1:45.65, breaking the old one by about 12 milliseconds. All the top 3 racers at the event -- Jinson Johnson (1:45.65), Manjit Singh (1:46.24) and Mohammed Afsal (1:46.79) -- stood better than the 2014 Asiad gold medal winner Adnan Almntfage (1:47.48) of Iraq.

Long distance races are decided on how the pace of the game is set. Better timings in one event may not get the same results in another event. Let us see what happens. We can have some hopes in this category.

Expectations: Minimum 0 medal , Maximum 2

1500m: Jinson Johnson and Manjit Singh will again be India's competitors in this event, but both have timings in excess of 3 minutes 45 seconds, which are far below the 3:42.90, set by the 2014 Asiad bronze medal winner Adnan Almntfage.

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5000m & 10000m: G Lakshmanan will be India's sole contender in both categories. His personal best of 13:35.69 could not have landed him in any of the medal positions at the 2014 Asiad. However, he has won 2 Golds in each of these categories in the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships. We can have some hopes.

Expectations: Minimum 0 medal, Maximum 2

400m Hurdles: Dharun Ayyasamy & Santosh Kumar will represent India at the 2018 Asiad in the event. Dharun Ayyasamy broke the National record with a superb timing of 49.68s, it would have won him Gold at the 2014 Games. However, he will face tough competition from Eric Cray of Philippines, who has a personal best of 48.98 and Chen Chieh of Taiwan (personal best of 49.05)

Expectations: Minimum 1 medal

3000m Steeplechase: Naveen Kumar Dagar, who won Bronze in the 2014 Games with the time of 8:40.39s, put an improved performance of 8:39.42s at the 58th Nationals.

Expectations: Minimum 0 medal, Maximum 1

High Jump: Chetan B recorded a height of 2.25m at the 58th Nationals, the same would have landed him in the Bronze medal position at the 2014 Games as well as at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships.

Tejaswin Shankar has pulled out of the competition, citing neck strain. So the medal hopes will be entirely on Chetan.

Expectations: Minimum 0 medal, Maximum 1

Triple Jump: Arpinder Singh with the distance of 17.09m & Rakesh Babu with 16.63m both qualified for the 2018 Asiad, Arpinder's performance could have won him silver at the 2014 Asiad. Arpinder has gained consistency and some distance over the years and he is at his prime age of 25. We can hope he betters his performance from the 2014 Games, where he finished 5th.

Expectations: Minimum 1 medal

Shot put: Tejinder Pal Singh has a personal best of 19.77m, which won him the silver medal at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships. If he manages the same or betters it, he can hope for bronze or better.

Expectations: Minimum 1 medal

Javelin Throw: Neeraj Chopra & Shivpal Singh will be India's contenders. Neeraj has been consistent in his performances, throwing in excess of 85m in almost all the events he participates. His best of 87.43 would be sufficient to win him a medal at the Asiad. Except Cheng Chao-tsun of Taiwan, who has a best of 91.36, no one else is likely to challenge Neeraj for the Gold.

Shivpal's 82.28 may not win him a medal. He will have to improve his performance.by a couple of meters.

Expectations: Minimum 1 medal

4x400m Relay- Indian team will composed of Mohammed Anas, Jeevan KS, Jithu Baby, Kunhu Mohammed, Rajiv Arokia, Santosh Kumar.

Anas, Rajiv, Kunju Mohammaed were part of the team that set National record of 3:00.91 in 2016. Anything close to that will bag India a medal and most likely a gold.

Expectations: Minimum 1 medal

Mixed Relay: Mixed relay is a newly added event and India will be represented by Mohammed Anas, Rajiv Arokia, Hima Das & Poovamma. India can expect a medal from this event.

Expectations: Minimum 1 medal

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IAAF World U20 Championships - Day 3
All eyes will be on Hima Das

100m: Dutee Chand, with season's best of 11.32, will be a serious contender for the gold. She, however, has to make sure she is consistent. She had finished third with the time of 11.50 seconds at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships. However, her personal best of 11.24 would have got her a gold medal at the 2014 Asiad. She has it in her to go for the gold.

Expectations: Minimum 1 medal

200m : Hima Das & Dutee Chand both cleared the 2018 Asiad qualification mark of 23.50s. Hima, with the time of 23.1s and Dutee, with 23.41s, will be competing between themselves for the medal spot. Hima's 23.1s would have won her a silver at the 2014 Asiad, while Dutee's 23.41 is better than the bronze medal-winning time of 23.45. It will all be decided on the day.

Expectations: Minimum 1 medal, Maximum 2

400m: Hima Das, with 51.13s and Nirmala Sheoran, with 51.25s qualified for the 2018 Asiad. With these timings, both will be contending for the top berth at the 2018 Asiad. Bahranian runner Kemi Adekoya will give them a run for their money. Kemi has the best time of 50.86s.

Expectations: Minimum 2 medals

800m : Tintu Luka is yet to take her 2018 Asiad qualification trials. She had won a silver medal at the 2014 Asiad with 1:59.19s. If she qualifies, we can hope for another medal.

Expectations: Minimum 0 medal, Maximum 1

1500m: There were 4 runners with timings better than the 2018 Asiad qualification time of 4:16.88. PU Chitra, Monika Chaudhary topped the race with 4:11.55s and 4:12.44s respectively. In the absence of the Bahranian racers, Chitra had won the gold at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships. It would be interesting to see how the Indian runners will fare. We can hope for at least a bronze in this category.

Expectations: Minimum 1 medal, Maximum 2

5000m & 1000m: Sanjivani Jadhav & L Surya will be India's contenders at the event. They are good enough runners to finish within the top 5, but a medal position might evade them

Expectations: Minimum 0 medal, Maximum 1

3000m steeplechase: In the absence of Lalita Babar, Sudha Singh would be India's medal hope. Sudha has a gold from the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships, but Asiad will be different. She has a chance at Bronze and if she is lucky, a silver can be hers.

Expectations: Minimum 0 medal, Maximum 1

Long Jump: Both Nayana James & Neena V Pinto will be strong contenders. 22-year-old Nayana has the personal best of 6.55m while Neena has 6.66m. Both these distances would have got them a gold medal in the 2014 Asiad. Both Neena and Nayana were among the medalists at the Asian Athletics Championships as well.

Expectations: Minimum 1 medal, Maximum 2

20km Race Walk: Khushbir Kaur had won a silver at the 2014 Asiad with the time of 1:33:07s, Soumya B broke the national record previously set by Khushbir with the time of 1:31.28s. Both will be contenders for the medals.

Expectations: Minimum 1 medal, Maximum 2

Discus Throw: Seema Poonia is the winner of 2014 Asiad and has a best of 61.09m. She also won a silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Expectations: 1 medal

Hammer Throw: Sarita Singh, who threw the hammer an astounding 63.28m at the 58th Nationals, will be India's contender at the event. She will have a chance at the bronze behind the powerful Chinese competitors, but she has to be consistent.

Expectations: Minimum 0 medal, Maximum 1

Javelin Throw: Annu Rani, the bronze medal winner from 2014 Asiad will be India's medal hope in this category. She is yet to go through the qualification trials. Her best of 60.01m or anything close to that range would get her a bronze medal. The Chinese will most likely capture the top two spots.

Expectations: Minimum 0 medal, Maximum 1

4x400m Relay: The team comprising of Hima Das, MR Poovamma, Saritaben Gaikwad, Sonia Vaishya, Vijayakumari, VK Vismaya, Jisna Matthew will represent India. 

This team will be good enough to contend for the gold medal spot. Hope the loss of Nirmala Sheoran won't cost us dearly. Nirmala is not included in the list of relay runners as the AFI has decided to allow only racers training with them.

Expectations: 1 medal

Heptathlon: Swapna Barman has the best aggregate of 5942 points, while Purnima Hembram has the best of 5898. Both of these will be in contention for the medals. We might even strike gold and silver.

Expectations: Minimum 1 medal, Maximum 2

Total Minimum medals expected: 17

Total Maximum medals expected: 35

India had a total of 13 medals at the 2014 Asiad, 12 in 2010, 9 in 2006 and 17 in 2002. We can hope to better our past performances this time.







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Lokesh M. E
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