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Asian Games 2018: Can India do one better this time?

Sridhar Reddy
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
1.32K   //    13 Aug 2018, 07:29 IST

India has always been a sleeping giant in sports. The promise was always there but frustratingly the country performed below par in the major sporting evening for many decades. But hope is eternal. With over a billion population and a growing interest in non-cricketing sports with ample Government and private support, can we hope for a better show this time?

India’s journey started way back in 1951 in the very first Asian Games hosted in New Delhi. India ended the games with a creditable 2nd position, a feat which it was never able to emulate till date. In terms of medal tally, there were 15 Golds and a total tally of 51 medals in that edition. And this is the best ever Gold medal count ever till date. India came tantalizingly close to this in the 2010 Guangzhou where it ended up with 14 Golds and the best ever total tally of 65 medals in all. It was helped by the inclusion of Chess and Cue Sports where India won 6 medals in all in that edition, but these didn’t find a place in Incheon in 2014 and even in the current Jakarta edition.

The preparations have been good and some top athletes are in prime form, but at the same time, the medal prospects are hit with the drop out of prime medal contenders like weightlifter Mirabhai Chanu and high jumper Tejaswin Shankar due to injuries, and non-selection of regulars like Jitu Rai, Gagan Narang, Mehuli Ghosh (shooting), Sanjita Chanu (Weightlifting). So, does India still have the wherewithal to at least do one better this time in the Asian Games kicking off in a week’s time, either by crossing the best ever Gold Medal tally of 15 or best ever total tally of 65? Let's find out

Let's go by each sports category to figure out the realistic chances of gold medals and overall medal tally

1. Aquatics (Diving and Swimming)

0 Gold Medals

1 medal (Key contenders - Srihari Natarj or Sandeep Sejwal or Virdhawal Khade)

2. Archery

0 / 1 Gold Medal (Key contenders - Compound Teams)

4 / 5 medals (Key contenders - Abhishek Verma, Deepika Kumari, Jyotisurekha, Trisha Deb and Team events)

3. Athletics

4 / 5 Gold Medals (Key contenders – 4 X 400 relay teams, Neeraj Chopra, Dutee Chand, Seema Punia)

17 / 18 medals (Key contenders – 4 X 400 relay teams, Neeraj Chopra, Dutee Chand, Seema Punia, Mohammed Anas, Jinson Johnson, Rajiv Arokia, Dharun Ayyasamy, Naveen Kumar Dagar, Arpinder Singh, Tejinder Pal Singh, Hima Das, Tintu Luka, PU Chitra, Nayana James, Swapna Barman )

2014 Asian Games - Day 13

4X400M Relay Teams offer India's best bets for Golds in Athletics

4. Badminton

0 / 1 Gold Medal (Key contenders – PV Sindhu)

3 / 4 medals (Key contenders – PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and Team events)

5. Boxing

0 / 1 Gold Medal (Key contenders – Vikas Krishnan, Gaurav Solanki)

4 / 5 medals (Key contenders – Vikas Krishnan, Gaurav Solanki, Mohammad Hussamuddin, Amit Panghal, Shiv Thapa, Manoj Kumar, Sarjubala Devi)

6. Gymnastics

0 / 1 Gold Medal (Key contenders – Dipa Karmakar)

1 / 2 medals (Key contenders – Dipa Karmakar, Ashish Kumar, Rakesh Patra, Aruna Reddy )

7. Field Hockey

0 / 1 Gold Medal (Key contenders – Men’s Team)

1 / 2 medals (Key contenders – Both Men’s and Women teams )

8. Martial Arts (Wushu, Karate, Judo, Sambo, Pencak silat, Kurash, Taekwondo)

0 Gold Medal

1 / 2 medals (Key contenders – mainly in Wushu )

9. Kabaddi

2 Gold Medals (Key contenders – Both Mens and Women’s teams)

2 medals (Key contenders – Both Mens and Women’s teams )

10. Rowing and Sailing

0 Gold Medal

2 / 3 medals (Key contenders – Dattu Bhokanal, Swaran Singh, Dushyant Chauhan, Men’s Team Rowing and Women’s Sailing Team events )

11. Shooting

1 / 2 Gold Medals (Key contenders – Manu Bhaker, Heena Sidhu, Anish Bhanwala, Sanjeev Rajput and the Team events)

10 / 11 medals (Key contenders – Manu Bhaker, Heena Sidhu, Anish Bhanwala, Sanjeev Rajput, Apurvi Chandela, Elavenil Valarivan, Shreyasi Singh, Anjum Moudgil, Deepak Kumar and the Team events)

12. Squash

0 / 1 Gold Medals (Key contenders – Men’s and Women’s Team events)

3 / 4 medals (Key contenders – Men’s and Women’s Team events, Saurav Ghosal, Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal)

13. Table Tennis

0 Gold Medals

0 / 1 medal (Key contenders – Manika Batra, Sharath Achanta and Team Events)

14. Tennis

0 / 1 Gold Medal (Key contenders – Doubles Teams)

0 / 1 medal (Key contenders – Doubles Teams)

15. Weightlifting

0 / 1 Gold Medal (Key contenders – Sathish Sivalingam)

1 / 2 medals (Key contenders – Sathish Sivalingam, Ajay Thakur)

16. Wrestling

2 / 3 Gold Medal (Key contenders – Sushil Kumar, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia )

6 / 7 medals (Key contenders – Sushil Kumar, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sumit Malik, Sakshi Malik, Mausam Khatri, Pooja Dhanda, Divya Kakran)

So, on an average, Indian contingent can expect to win 15 to 16 Golds and a total medal tally of around 68 to 70 in all, assuming a few hits and misses as you can expect always. So, in effect, we can hope that India can round it off with its best ever tally this time around. It needs the entire country to rally behind them. Cheer India!!!

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Sridhar Reddy
CONTRIBUTOR
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