Top Indian challengers @ 2014 Asian Games

KILLER PUNCH: Mary Kom (boxing)


The Manipuri police officer is now a household name across the country. The five-time World Champion has got little left to prove, after punching her way to the bronze medal in London, but Mary Kom is still determined to add more medals to her collection. At a time when her biopic is raking in the moolah at the box office, Mary will be keen to recapture the golden moments in the ring at the Incheon Games. By topping the trials, after missing the selection for the CWG, the mother-of-three now guns for another triumph. In the 2010 edition, she won the bronze in flyweight.

FEATHER TOUCH: PV Sindhu (badminton)


The teenager goes into the Asiad as a strong contender to end the Chinese dominance, along with her more illustrious teammate Saina Nehwal. PV Sindhu recently became the first Indian to win two medals in consecutive World Championships. Though her World Cup conqueror Carolina Marin won’t be there in Incheon, the Chinese, Chinese Taipei and Thailand shuttlers will be out in full strength to make her job tougher.

SHARP SHOOTER: Jitu Rai (shooting)


The Nepal-born sharp shooter is literally on fire as he has shot down most of the medals that came his way this season. It began with a double at the World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia in June. The 26-year-old pistol shooter from the 11 Gorkha regiment created history when he won medals in both the 10m and 50m events. Then came the Commonwealth Games and Rai easily asserted his supremacy. The World Championships followed and the Indian was again bang on target settling for the silver and a quota place between a Korean and a Japanese who will again challenge him at the Asaid.

BULL’S EYE: Deepika Kumari (archery)


The Tata Academy product is showing signs that she has finally got over the crushing defeat at Lord’s in the 2012 Olympics. Deepika Kumari went into the Games as one of the top medal contenders in recurve competition but went out in the preliminary round itself, crashing under the weight of expectations. The 20-year-old once again starts as a strong medal contender after showing great form in the recent World Cups. The three-time World Cup Finals silver medallist is peaking at the right time and will be keen to make amends after missing out on a bronze at Guangzhou.

MR HERCULES: Vikas Gowda (athletics)


If there is one athlete who should get constant backing from the government then it’s this Mysore-born discus thrower, and that too just for his unwavering dedication. Vikas Gowda has trained his sights on the Rio Olympics and success at the Asian Games will only add to his confidence levels. The recent success at the Glasgow CWG shut out his critics and they are now backing him for the Asiad gold. At Incheon, Vikas, who is topping the Asian list with a throw of 65.62m, will face competition from two Iranians and one Chinese. However, exposure in the Diamond League circuit will surely help him produce the winning throw.

MUSCLE MAN: Yogeshwar Dutt (wrestling)


In the absence of Sushil Kumar, London Olympics bronze medalist Yogeshwar Dutt will be India’s trump card in wrestling. The 31-year-old Haryana wrestler proved his form at the Glasgow CWG powering past his opponents, including in the final, with ease to bag the gold. It will be Yogeshwar’s second attempt at the Asiad after winning a bronze in the Doha Games in 2006. The Asian Championship winner in 2012 knows that Incheon will pose a much tougher competition with grapplers lining up from Iran, Japan and Korea. Yogeshwar has skipped the World Championships to focus on the Asiad gold.


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