Asian Games: Chance for Chopra-led India to showcase its prowess

Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium is lit up during a light show on the eve of the opening ceremony. REUTERS

Hangzhou (TIP)- Led by Olympics champion Neeraj Chopra, India will seek to showcase its ascendency as a sporting power at the Asian Games, which opens formally tomorrow after an unprecedented one-year delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic. India will hope to surpass the 70 medals (16 gold, 23 silver and 31 bronze) won in 2018 in Indonesia with its largest contingent of 655 athletes competing in 39 sports in Hangzhou to show the world the rapid strides the country has made in sports since the historic performance in the Tokyo Olympics.
For a country that aspires to host the Olympics in near future, an eighth place finish in the 2018 Games is far from satisfactory, and it will seek to rise higher in the medal tally in Hangzhou.
India have not finished in the top-5 of the medals tally since the 1986 edition in Seoul.
Though winning 100 medals may seem far-fetched, India is expected to surpass last edition’s count with athletics once again set to contribute the lion’s share. The track and field athletes had won 20 medals in Jakarta, and this time at least 25 podium finishes are expected.
For the first time in the Asian Games’ history, India will be having five Olympics medallists in their ranks, raising hopes of the country grabbing more gold medals than the 16 won in 2018. The other Olympics medallists are weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, shuttler PV Sindhu, wrestler Bajrang Punia and boxer Lovlina Borgohain.
Still, it is difficult to predict the gold medal count for India. Sindhu has been struggling for some time, Chanu has had fitness issues recently, while Bajrang started training only a few months ago after taking part in the wrestlers’ protest. Source: PTI

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