The IOA on Monday announced a final list of 524 athletes for the 2018 Asiad games to be held at Jakarta Palembang, Indonesia. Though a slight decrease in numbers from the previous games at Incheon which comprised of 541 athletes, the IOA has aimed to consolidate the teams for the Japan Olympics, 2020.
This year the IOA has welcomed the emergence of eight new federations in their contingent: Karate, Kurash, Pencak Silat, Roller Skating, Sambo, Sepaktakraw, Triathlon and Soft Tennis. Even though IOA has put forward a prospect of 86 athletes for these eight games their number can receive some slight changes more or less.
Apart from these eight, 31 other games will be represented by India by the rest 438 athletes, Athletics being the highest with 52.
The other federations where India will take part in are Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Bowling, Canoe-Kayak (Sprint), Canoe-Kayak (Slalom), Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Gymnastics, Golf, Handball, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Karate, Kurash, Pencak Silat, Roller Skating, Rowing, Sailing, Sambo, Sepaktakraw, Shooting, Squash, Aquatics - Swimming, Aquatics - Diving, Tennis, Taekwondo, Triathlon, Soft Tennis, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Weightlifting and Wushu.
With an initial pool of 2370 athletes, IOA filtered to 960 and further to 524 to back India's medal chances at the Asiad.
India will be backing highly on their performance at the recently concluded Commonwealth games where they tallied a total of 66 medals to their name out of which 26 were gold. Going into the Asiad, India has a definitive advantage in terms of the contingent number which is more than double to that of Commonwealth games' 216.
Shooting, which helped bag the maximum number of medals took an early setback as the organisers decided to put a halt to the traditional shooting events like rifle 50m prone (men and women), 50m pistol, 25m center fire pistol and 25m standard pistol, 10m air pistol (team); 10m air rifle (team); 50m prone (individual and team), etc.
Despite that India will be banking highly on badminton, boxing, weightlifting, wrestling, and table tennis to up their medal tally. Athletics can come out as a dark horse for India with the likes of Neeraj Chopra and Seema Punia leading the charge. A lot is expected out of Tintu Luka as she will be looking forward to defending her medal this time around.
Hockey will also be looked with eagerness to finish at the pole position.
The IOA has lately faced some slack for its decision to keep football out of the contingent. Even with that it looks firmly focus to strengthen its squads for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan. In its statement, IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta has stated that "The contingent has been selected keeping in mind the Indian Olympic Association's long-term vision of preparing and encouraging the most deserving athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics based on them attaining qualification criteria,".
It's only a matter of time before we get to know the outcome but this will surely be a fair ground for Indian Olympic Committee to reflect on India's chances at the next Olympics.