The 2018 edition of the Asian Games is all set to take place in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia from August 18 and a strong 572 strong Indian contingent will look to better their performance from 2014 games, where the nation bagged 57 medals (11 Gold, 9 Silver, 37 Bronze) and finished their campaign on joint 5th (in terms of total haul) in the medal standings and overall 8th place.
This time around, a more can be expected as lot of young and budding Indian talent is touted to shine in Asiad and on the other end, strong and experienced players will try their best to outshine the numbers.
We look at Indian athletes, who will be defending their title in Asian Games 2018, Indonesia:
India’s men compound team comprising of Sandeep Kumar, Rajat Chauhan and Abhishek Verma defeated the powerhouse of archery, South Korea by 227-225 in the final to clinch the yellow metal for the country, four years ago.
This year, the team will have experience of Rajat Chauhan and Abhishek Verma but Sandeep kumar missed out with Aman Saini and Sangamprit Bisla making the cut.
After 16 years of long wait, Indian men’s hockey team was able to won the gold medal in Asian Games at Incheon 2014 and consequently earned a direct berth to the 2016 Rio Olympics hockey tournament.
The men in blue defeated their arch-rivals Pakistan in the final via penalty shootout while women’s team went onto clinch the bronze medal.
Harendra Singh’s men will be hoping to retain the glory they achieved four years back as winning the competition will not only ensure the gold medal but will also fetch a direct entry to 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
The women’s team coached by Sjoerd Marijne will also look to do better, being the number one side in Asia, the women’s team will also go for gold and a direct entry to Olympics as it will save the team lots of qualifiers and time to practice for the mega-event.
Athletics (Seema Punia & Women’s Relay Team)
Four years ago, Seema Punia threw a gigantic throw of 61.03 meters to ensure herself a gold medal in the 2014 Asian Games, this time around she will be defending her title, which is a uphill task for her but not impossible.
The 2014 Indian women’s Relay team comprising of Priyanka Pawar, Tintu Luka, Mandeep Kaur and Machettira Raju Poovamma surprised everyone by winning the gold medal with a timing of 3:28.68 which was also a games record.
This year, only Machettira Raju Poovamma made the cut and will be participating along with Saritaben Gaikwad, Sonia Vaishya and Vijayakumari in the women’s 4 x 400m relay event.
The men’s and Women’s team are the heavy favourites to retain the crown in the edition. In absence of senior players like Anup Kumar, Jasveer Singh and Rakesh Kumar who retired from the international arena, the men’s team will be lead by star raider Ajay Thakur and will be hoping to beat teams like Iran and Pakistan to retain the gold in Asian Games 2018.
The women’s team will also have some fresh faces with experienced raider Abhilashsha Mhatre missing the games.
In 2014, the men’s team comprising of Saurav Ghosal, Harinder Pal Sandhu, Kush Kumar and Mahesh Mangaonkar shattered Malaysian team with a 2-0 win to clinch the gold medal.
This year Kush Kumar is replaced by Ramit Tandon and the team will be looking forward to defend their title.