Indian ministry has cleared a strong 804 member squad (572 athletes, 183 officials, 119 coaches and 21 doctors and physiotherapists and 43 other extra officials) for the 2018 Asian Games that will be held from 18 August to 2 September 2018 in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang.
A strong Indian contingent will be looking to significantly improve on their medal count from the earlier edition of the sporting extravaganza with some big names in the squad.
A lot of young and budding Indian talent is touted to shine in Jakarta and Palembang & on the other end, strong and experienced players will try their best to better the last Games’ (2014) tally of 57 medals (11 Gold, 9 Silver, 37 Bronze).
Athletics, which had given the highest number of medals (13) in the last Asian Games in 2014, has most number of participants (50) followed by canoe-kayak (49). Hockey is third with 36 players forming a 51-strong contingent. Shooting, which had yielded second highest number of medals (9) in the last edition, will have 28 participants out of 36-strong contingent.
But, some big names are missing from this list & these names are familiar to most of the fans.
Let’s take a look at 5 Indian stars who will not make it to Asian Games 2018 Indonesia:
Mary Kom (Boxing)
Mary kom, nicknamed as “Magnificent Mary”, the 5 times World Champion and 2014 Asian Champion will miss the 2018 games due to injury and she is currently undergoing treatment for the same.
Additionally, she is more focussed on the women’s boxing World Championship which will take place in New Delhi in November this year and the mother of three will look to add another title to her name, especially in the front of the home crowd.
The 35 year old became the first Indian woman boxer to get a Gold Medal in the Asian Games in 2014 in Incheon, South Korea but sadly she will not be defending her title this time at Indonesia.
Mirabai Chanu (Weightlifting)
Reigning World Champion and Commonwealth Games champion Mirabai Chanu pulled out of the Asian Games to recover from a backache and prepare for the Olympic qualifiers.
According to India chief coach Vijay Sharma, Mirabai should be given rest to recover from the problem and prepare for the Olympic qualifiers, which are more important from the Asian Games. The World Weightlifting Championship, scheduled to be held in Ashgabat from November 1, will be the first Olympic qualifying event this year.
Mirabai was hot favorite for a Gold medal in these games and India has lost their one sure shot medal prospect.
Sunil Chhetri (Football)
The iconic footballer, Sunil Chhetri will be missing from the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang along with the entire Indian football team after Indian Olympic Association decided not to clear the football team, deeming them incompetent to win any medals. It will be a shame for the Indian football fans as their Asian Games 2018 will go in vain.
Sania Mirza (Tennis)
Former world no.1 and India’s no.1 women’s doubles player, Sania Mirza will not be able to showcase her skills in forthcoming Asian Games in Indonesia after she decided to skip the tournament due to pregnancy.
The 31-year-old won the only gold in tennis for India in 2014 Asian Games along with Saketh Myneni in mixed doubles will be surely missed this year and without her, there are fewer hopes of defending mixed doubles title this year.
Jitu Rai (Shooting)
Another notable absentee in Asian Games 2018 is multiple international medallist and former World no.1 Jitu Rai, who opened India’s account in 2014 Incheon edition with a gold on the first day of the competition.
The Indian ace was not included in the Indian squad due to indifferent form and recently he was dropped from the latest list of sportspersons being supported by the much touted Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
There are many other high-profile shooters in Indian contingent and alot will be expected from them but Jitu Rai will surely be missed at Indonesia.