The Jakarta Palembang Asian Games have begun with a bang! The multi-sport event takes place every four years and gives the athletes from Asian countries a platform to showcase their talent. There are lot of hopes from India at Asian Games 2018.
In fact, there has not been a single edition of the games when we did not win a gold medal. The year 2018 has been a very successful year for Indian sports. Many new athletes took the spotlight at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
However, the Asian Games are always considered to be tougher than most competitions. Our young and aspiring sportsmen and women are working hard to conquer their demons and strengthen their skills. Every championship comes with its share of surprises and shocks.
We do have high hopes from disciplines like athletics, wrestling, shooting, boxing, and badminton. Athletics has always contributed the most to India’s medal tally. The rise of badminton has been pretty significant in the recent years. The boxing contingent has produced some gems like Sushil Kumar and the Phogat sisters.
You must be wondering about this year’s medal prospects, aren’t you? Well, we can never be 100% sure about results when it comes to sports. However, we feel these athletes have strong chances of a podium finish. Let’s have a look at who they are.
India at Asian Games 2018
Event: Freestyle Wrestling (65 kg)
- The youngster from the Mecca of wrestling in India, Haryana, is all set to bring top honors for the country. Trained by the Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, Bajrang is literally on a roll. He won three gold medals this year at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, Yasar Dogu International in Turkey, and Tbilisi Grand Prix in Georgia.
- Since 2013 his medal tally is consistently increasing. Bajrang has made a mark at Asian Championships, Commonwealth Championships, and World Wrestling Championships. He won a silver medal in the previous edition of the Asian Games in 2014. We are sure that this time he will get nothing but the gold home.
Event: Javelin Throw
- Neeraj Chopra is India’s flag bearer at the Asian Games 2018. The track and field athlete is making his debut at the Asiads. However, the youngster is all set to bring home the gold st his maiden appearance itself.
- He has had an incredible run in the last few years. He won gold medals at the World Junior Championships, Asian Championships, South Asian Games, as well as the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Neeraj is also the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal for javelin throw at the Commonwealth Games.
- With a throw of 87.43 meters, he broke the national record at the Doha Diamond League this year. Considering his past records, it is very clear that Neeraj likes to win only the gold. We hope his winning spree continues and he excels at the Asiads as well.
Event: 200 meters and 400 meters
- The 18-year-old sprinter from Assam captured the imagination of the entire nation with a gold medal at the World Junior Athletics Championships in 2018. She comes from a humble family of rice farmers and was spotted by an athletics coach, Nipon Das, during an inter-district competition.
- Hima is young, hard-working, and focused. The Asian Games are the perfect opportunity for her to showcase her immense talent to the world. She brought a lot of joy for all Indians once this year and we are sure she will do the same again.
Event: Freestyle Wrestling (50 kg)
- It is impossible to talk about wrestling without mentioning the Phogat sisters. While Babita and Geeta have already proven their mettle, their cousin, Vinesh, is hogging the limelight now.
- The Commonwealth Games have been particularly phenomenal for her. She won the gold in 2014 as well as 2018 editions of the games. At the Incheon Asian Games, she had to settle for the silver.
- However, now she has an opportunity to bring the yellow metal home. Considering her form and fitness level, we are sure she will achieve the feat.
Tajinder Pal Singh Toor
Event: Shot Put
- As a child, Tajinder wanted to play cricket, but his father advised him to opt for shot put. Even though his father is a farmer, he encouraged Tajinder to pursue professional sports.
- Tajinder has time and again proven how right his father’s decision was. He won a silver medal at the Asian Indoor Championships in 2017. He also won the gold at the 57th National Inter-state Athletics Championships.
- The 22-year old is India’s medal prospect for shot put at the Jakarta Asiads.
Event: 100 meters
- Dutee is the current Indian champion in the 100m sprint event. She has won three bronze medals at the Asian Championships. She is only the third woman to qualify in the 100m event at the Olympics.
- Dutee was excluded from the 2014 Asian Games due to her gender row. “I am just so happy. Missed the 2014 Asian Games due to the hyperandrogenism row, so it’s my chance to prove my worth. I never thought of quitting. It’s a dream for an athlete to represent their country and what happened was not my fault,” she told the Times of India.
- The road to the Asiads has been extremely difficult for the girl. She comes from a poor family with limited resources. Plus, she had to undergo gender testing in 2014, when she was just a teenager. However, she has decided to concentrate on the games instead of dwelling in the past.
- The Asian Games 2018 are an excellent opportunity for the youngster. We are sure that she will get a podium finish and make the country proud.
Event: Table Tennis
- The table tennis champion surprised one and all with her dream run at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. She won four medals, including two gold medals, one silver, and one bronze. Now she is busy strategizing for the Jakarta Asian Games with her childhood coach Sandeep Gupta. She knows the challenges that lie ahead and she is leaving no stone unturned in her preparations.
- She is focusing on reaching the quarterfinals first and taking every match at a time. Here’s wishing her a very best!
Event: Flyweight (52 kg)
- Gaurav Solanki stunned everyone with a stellar performance at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. He followed it up with another gold medal in the Chemistry Cup in June 2018.
- Gaurav couldn’t have had a better setting for the Asiads. He is now looking for his gold hat-trick for the year 2018.
- The talented boxer found inspiration in his elder brother and sister, who are both boxers. The family has made a lot of financial sacrifices to support Gaurav’s dream of becoming a successful boxer.
- He is now competing in the flyweight 52 kg and is hopeful of a medal at the Asiads. Indian team’s director Santiago Nieva is also positive about Gaurav’s performance. “His footwork is great and he responds well to a good training environment with things such as video analysis,” he said in an interview.
- Born to national-level volleyball players, Ramana and Vijaya, Sindhu was inspired by badminton champion Pullela Gopichand to pursue a career in badminton. The dedicated girl has worked extremely hard and raised her game higher and higher.
- She is also the first Indian Olympic woman silver medalist. She has a record of winning three consecutive silver medals at major international tournaments. The tournaments were BWF World Championships 2017 and 2018, and the Commonwealth Games 2018.
- She is in excellent form and great frame of mind. After three consecutive silvers, the Asian Games 2018 are the perfect opportunity to get the yellow metal home.
Event: Artistic Gymnastics
- The ‘Produnova’ girl of India is back with a bang after battling a career-threatening injury last year. She had injured her thigh and the subsequent surgery meant she spent most of 2017 recuperating.
- Dipa’s illustrious gymnastics journey started with a gold medal in the Junior Nationals 2008. Now, she has more than 77 medals to her name at state, national, and international levels.
- She couldn’t attend the qualifiers of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. However, she made a spectacular comeback by winning the gold at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup at Mersin, Turkey.
- Now, she has set her sight firmly on the Jakarta Asiads. This is an excellent opportunity for her to make up for the lost time and chances. We are extremely sure that the golden girl won’t come home empty-handed.
There are numerous other known and unknown faces that will fight it out for a podium finish in the coming days. Each one will have only one aim, to make their mother nation proud. The Asian Games are celebrating the Energy of Asia this year. Let us all celebrate this energy and positivity, and wish our athletes the very best for the Asiads!
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