Asian Games 2018: India's probable medal contenders

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Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore sending off Indian Atheletes for the Asian Games
Varun Khanna

The 18th Asian Games, the biggest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games, scheduled from 18th August to 2nd September 2018 is being hosted by the island nation, Indonesia. This is the first time that the Asian Games will be co-hosted in two cities: Jakarta and Palembang. A total of 45 nations will participate in 465 events.

India has always been a tough competitor to other nations in the Asian Games. 572 Indian athletes, participating in 36 sports, would hope to increase the medal tally for their country in comparison to the 2014 Asian Games held in South Korea, where India bagged 57 medals; 11 Gold, 9 Silver, 37 Bronze.

Though Indians would be hoping to win a medal in every event and will fight hard for the same, there are some events where they are the outright favourites to finish on the podium. As the action is set to begin, here are the 6 games where Indians will be confident to win a medal are:

#1 Kabaddi

Indian Kabaddi team

India has always dominated Kabaddi. Be it the Kabaddi World Cup or the Asian Games, the men's Kabaddi team has won it all and so nothing less than a gold is expected from the men's team.

India have won the Kabaddi gold at every Asian Games since it was included in 1990, held in China. Even the women's team won the gold medal in both editions after the sport was introduced for women in 2010. Expecting a gold medal from the men's and women's Kabaddi teams would not be a big ask for them.

#2 Badminton

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Indian ace shuttlers

World Championship Silver medallist PV Sindhu would have a lot of pressure to win a Gold medal in this Asiad. There would be a lot on the shoulders of Sindhu. She would hope to defeat the mighty Japanese and win a medal.

The 2012 Olympic Bronze medallist Saina Nehwal will also be a prominent contender to win a medal at the Asiad. The 28-year-old has never won a singles medal in the Asian Games. Though she is not in a great form and the performance has not been consistent lately, with her experience and stature she can never be ignored.

The CWG Silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth would be the only hope for a medal in men's singles, besides them. But the ace shuttler will have to face a stiff competition from the Japanese, Chinese and Indonesian players.

#3 Gymnastics

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Dipa Karmakar

Dipa Karmakar won the Bronze medal in the 2014 CWG Glassgow and in 2015 Asian Gymnastics Championship. She impressed the whole world when she represented India in 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, settling for the 4th place.

She became the first Gymnast to win a Gold medal in any global event when she finished first in World Challenge Cup in Turkey this year. The 25-year-old will be one of the best bets for India to win a maiden Gold medal in the Asian Games in Gymnastics.

#4 Athletics

India's flag bearer Neeraj Chopra

Adille Sumariwalla, the Athletics Federation of India President, is confident that Indians will win more medals in track and field events as compared to the 2014 Asian Games. There are many Indian athletes who have a great chance to stand on the podium this year but some of the prominent Athletes who can win a gold medal are:

Neeraj Chopra, the flag bearer of India in the opening ceremony will be eyeing to stand on the first place of the podium in Jakarta in Javelin throw. The 2018 CWG Gold medallist has been in great form and has shown consistent performances by winning 3 golds in the last 4 events with a record 87.43m throw, which would be enough to win a gold medal in the Asiad.

The 18-year-old youngster, Hima Das would be another contender to win a medal for India in 400m race. She became the first Indian to win a Gold at IAAF track and field event with a timing of 51.46 sec which is enough to win a gold in the Asian Games.

Let us not forget Seema Poonia, who was the Gold medallist in the last Asian Games. She won a Silver at the 2018 CWG with a best discus throw of 61.09m. She will have a good competition against the Chinese but will look to defend her title and win a medal for India.

#5 Wrestling

Indian wrestlers

Sushil Kumar, one of the most successful Indian wrestlers, is a great contender and will look forward to making a comeback after the defeat at Tbilisi Grand Prix. The two-time Olympic medallist will hope to win a gold at the Asian Games.

The 24-year Bajrang Punia, who is in enormous form, will surely be a favourite to win a gold in 65kg freestyle event. The Silver medallist in the last edition of Asian Games has won 3 gold this year in CWG Games, Tbilisi Grand Prix and Yasar Dogu International.

#6 Shooting

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Manu Bhaker(Right) and Heena Sidhu(Left)

The dropping of shooting events that is the rifle 50m prone, 50m pistol, 25m centre fire pistol and 25m standard pistol for men and women reduced the chances of Indian shooters to win these events, with India winning only one medal in the 2014 Asian Games.

Manu Bhaker is a promising young talent for India in shooting, winning the gold in women's 10m air pistol event at the 2018 CWG. She won the gold in ISSF World Cup and is India's best hope in shooting to win a gold in Jakarta.

Heena Sidhu will also be an aspirant to win a medal after winning the gold medal in women's 25m air pistol event and silver in 2018 CWG Games.

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee


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