Asian Games 2018: Hits and Misses from the Asiad
The 18th edition of the Asian Games has almost come to an end as the action wound up on the penultimate of the mega-event being held in the cities of Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia.
The last day will see the final event, the Mixed Triathlon which will be followed by the closing ceremony at the Gelora Bung Kamo Main Stadium in Jakarta as we see curtains drawn on two weeks of adrenaline pumping action across a multitude of sporting events.
The Indian contingent at the Asian Games had their best ever performance at the 2018 Asian Games as they garnered a tally of 69 medals (15 Gold medals, 24 Silver medals and 30 bronze medals) across eighteen different sporting disciplines to stand eight in the overall medals tally.
Athletics proved to be the major source of glory for India as a total of 19 athletes got podium finishes for the nation with seven gold medals and ten silver medals. Shooting was the second highest medal winning category with nine medals in total.
However, there were some downers as well with the disappointments of prominent stars who were seemingly a lock for medals not performing up to mark and returning empty-handed from Indonesia. In contrast to this, we had some unexpected medals from sports which no one had tipped India to perform well in. We now take a stock of the hits and misses from the entire Asian Games 2018 journey for India in Indonesia.
Top 5 Misses at the 2018 Asian Games
1. Sushil Kumar - Men's Freestyle 74 kg - Wrestling
A big shocker for the country was the first round loss of wrestling legend Sushil Kumar in the Men's freestyle 74 kg category against Bahrain’s Adam Batirov.
The Indian wrestler lead the match 2-0 at the break but was unable to resist the comeback streak from the Bahrain man and ended up losing 3-5 in the end.
This meant that the two-time Olympic Games medalist and three-time Commonwealth Games champion crashed out without a medal finish at the Asian Games.
In his storied career spanning almost two decades, he has won just one Asian Games medal, a bronze medal at the 2006 Doha Games.
2. Sakshi Malik - Women's Freestyle 62 kg - Wrestling
Another miss from the wrestling sport was the highly rated Sakshi Malik in the women's freestyle 62 kg category. Malik was a hot favourite for the gold medal and started out well in the competition reaching the semifinals with ease.
However, she lost out in a narrow defeat against Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova with a 7-8 score. Through the repechage route, she faced North Korea's Rim Jong Sim in the bronze medal but lost with an overwhelming 2-12 score which was a huge shock for the country considering she is one of the best in the world at the weight category.
This meant that the Rio Olympics bronze medalist returned home empty-handed from Indonesia.
3. Kidambi Srikanth - Men's Singles and Team Events - Badminton
The former World No. 1 ranked singles player, Kidambi Srikanth had a disappointing outing at the Asian Games 2018.
He was a part of the men's team who were defeated in the quarterfinals by the Indonesian team with a 3-1 loss in which Srikanth lost his match.
More disappointment was in store for the current World No. 8 ranked shuttler as he bowed out of the Men' Singles competition in the Round of 32 when he lost to Vincent Wong Wing Ki in straight games.
4. Indian Men's Team - Kabaddi
One of the biggest locks of a gold medal for India at the Asian Games has been the Kabaddi team who have managed to win seven straight gold medals since the introduction of the game in 1990.
The Indian team lost to South Korea in the group stage which was the first shock of the competition. They took on familiar foes Iran in the semifinals and lost again as they were not a part of the gold medal match for the first time in Asiads history.
5. Indian Men's Team - Hockey
The men's hockey team were a strong contender to end up with the gold medal in Indonesia and their group stage form was an indicator of their promise as they battered their opponents scoring a lot of goals in the process.
In the semifinals, they faced Malaysia but lost out to them in the shootout after 2-2 at fulltime which meant that they were only in the running for a bronze now.
This led to the bronze medal playoff clash against perennial rivals Pakistan. India won the match 2-1 to clinch the bronze medal and at least put aside a bit of disappointment after missing out on the gold medal.