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India was one of the five founding members of the Asian Games Federation in 1949, a federation which was responsible for organizing the Asian Games from 1951 to 1982. This has made India an integral part of the Asian Games from its very first edition in 1951, which was also hosted in the country’s capital city of Delhi. The 1951 Asian Games India were a success and paved a way for world’s second biggest multi-sport event. Since then, India has been a part of all the 17 editions of the quadrennial event in the past. As the Indian contingent gets ready to participate in the Asian Games 2018 at Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, let us have a look at India’s performance and achievements at the Asian Games over the years.
Asian Games India Medal Tally
One of the only seven nations to have participated in all the 17 editions of the Asian Games, India has been one of the top performers at the tournament. Starting with the 1951 Asian Games, India has finished in the top 10 of the medals table with an exception for the 1990 Asian Games when India finished 11th.
Overall, India has won a total of 614 medals, which include 139 gold, 178 silver and 299 bronze. However, these numbers keep India on the fifth spot of the overall medal winners list which is dominated by China by a huge margin.
Athletics has given India the most number of medals over the years, with a staggering 233 medals to its name. Till the Asian Games 2014 Incheon, India has won 72 gold medals, 77 silver and 84 bronze medals in the track and field events.
These numbers are followed by 56 medals (nine gold, 14 silver, 33 bronze) from Wrestling, 55 medals (eight gold, 16 silver, 31 bronze) from Boxing and 49 medals (seven gold,17 silver, 25 bronze) from shooting.
One of the other sports that has given India success at is Kabaddi. Since the introduction of the sport at the 1982 Asian Games, the Indian men’s team has swept away all the seven gold medals. Women’s kabaddi was introduced at the 2010 Asian Games and the story there has been the same too. The Indian national women’s kabaddi team has won gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games.
India finished in the top five of the medals table twice – finishing second at the 1951 Delhi Games and third at the Jakarta 1962 Asian Games. The performance at the inaugural Asian Games in Delhi was also India’s best finish ever in the history of the games with 15 gold medals. In terms of the total medals, the 65 medals (14 gold, 17 silver and 34 bronze) at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou was India’s best finish.
Indian Records at Asian Games
Over the years, Indian athletes have earned a name for themselves at the international level. While some have set a stage for the upcoming generation to achieve greater heights in sports, some have created records. Let us have a look at some of India’s athletes who have shone at the Asian Games.
Swimmer Sachin Nag goes down in history as the first gold medal winner for India in the Asian Games. He won a gold in the 100m freestyle event on the third day of the 1951 Asiad.
Pinto is the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in the track and field event at the 1951 Asian Games. Not only that, he is also the only man to win multiple gold medals that year, picking a gold each in the 100m and 200m running events.
The Flying Sikh has won a total of four gold medals at the Asian Games in various track events. However, the most defying medal that he was at the 1958 Asian Games when he defeated Pakistan’s Abdul Khaliq in the 200m finals by a whisker to be crowned as the fastest Asian man at that time.
Kamaljit Sandhu will go down in the history as to someone who made a place for the Indian women athletes. During the 1970 Bangkok Games, Sandhu wrote history as she became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Asian Games. She won the yellow-ware in the women’s 400m race, running in a time of 57.3 seconds.
P. T. Usha
The Payyoli Express, Usha had two silvers to her name from the 1982 Asian Games. She bettered them at the next games in Seoul and also shattered records on the way. At the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, P.T. Usha won gold medals in the 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles and 4 × 400 m relay events by creating the Games records in all the events. She also won a silver in the 100m running event.
Indian Football Team
The golden era of Indian football probably started after the gold medal win at 1951 Asian Games. After declining to play at the 1950 FIFA World Cup, India defeated the powerhouse of Asia, Iran, in the finals in Delhi to win one of the first major medals in the sport.
Indian men’s Hockey team
Indian men’s field hockey team had dominated the Olympic gold from 1928 to 1956 and it was no surprise when they entered as the favorites at the 1958 Asian Games. But the team had to wait till the 1966 Asian Games to win a gold after finishing on the second place in 1958 and 1962, both time losing to arch-rival Pakistan. The second gold came years later in 1998, again in Thailand, followed by a historic third gold at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.
The Olympic bronze medalist, Mary Kom has many firsts to her name. One among those happened during the Asian Games 2014 whe Kom won a gold medal in the Flyweight (51 kg) category. Winning the medal, she became the first Indian woman boxer to get a gold at the Asian Games.
One of the notable Billiards player, Sethi has won multiple medals over three Asian Games. Starting with a gold and a silver at the 1998 Asian Games, he got another two medals at the 2002 Busan Asian Games, following it with a bronze at the Doha Asian Games 2006.
At the 2002 Busan Games, India’s Sunita Rani grabbed a gold in the women’s 1500m race, and also broke the Games Record by completing the race in 4:06.03 minutes. Interestingly, the record still stands after 16 years.
With India sending a strong contingent of more than 500 athletes in Indonesia, it is possible that these records could be broken and new ones could be created. India will definitely look to better their records this year after an overwhelming performance in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
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India’s best performance at the Asian Games came in the 1951 New Delhi edition, where they secured a remarkable tally of 51 medals, including 15 gold, 16 silver, and 20 bronze.
Milkha Singh, popularly known as the Flying Sikh, became the first Indian athlete to win an individual gold medal at the Asian Games in 1958. He triumphed in the men’s 200m event held in Tokyo.
In 2018, India made history in women’s boxing when Mary Kom, the legendary Indian boxer, clinched the gold medal in the women’s flyweight category (48-51kg). She became the first Indian woman boxer to win a gold medal at the Asian Games.
India has been immensely successful in Kabaddi at the Asian Games. The Indian men’s Kabaddi team has dominated the sport, winning every gold medal since the inception of the sport in 1990. Similarly, the Indian women’s Kabaddi team has also been highly successful, securing multiple gold medals.