Sports

India’s great show promises bright future

PTI Jakarta | Updated on September 02, 2018

A view of the stadium during the closing ceremony of the 18th Asian Games 2018, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sunday   -  PTI

With 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze, India finished 8th in the medal rankings

Achievements over the past two weeks, in the world’s second biggest multi-sport event, matched India’s aspirations and set the country on a road that appears far more promising than the path it has been on for decades.

The best-ever medal haul at the 2018 Asian Games is a leap forward for Indian sports after the Commonwealth Games medal spurt.

Even as the medallists come back with a feeling of accomplishment from Jakarta and Palembang, the surge in podium finishes could trigger new passion for Olympic sports in a country so obsessed with cricket.

From teenager Saurabh Chaudhary to 60-year-old Pranab Bardhan, an assortment of athletes combined to produce a top show even as the country endured shocking results in kabaddi and hockey.

Medal tally

With 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze, India’s medal tally stood at 69, a step up from Incheon four years ago when they won 65. India equalled the 15-gold tally of the 1951 inaugural Games but the country had never won 24 silvers before. Overall, India maintained its top-10 rank by finishing eighth yet again.

Every multi-sporting event has witnessed controversies and it was no different this time. However, once the action began, it was only the athletes and their performances that took the centre stage.

The track and field remained the most productive area for India as seven of the 15 gold came from the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

It was the burly Tejinder Pal Singh Toor, who delivered the first athletics gold with a record-breaking throw of 20.75m and later 12-toed Swapna Barman made history by becoming the country’s first heptathlete to grab a yellow metal at the Games.

Dutee Chand returned to the track with a bang. Running as if there was no tomorrow, she ended up blazing the track for two silver medals, the one in 100m being India’s first in 20 years.

If it was not for superior Africa-origin athletes, representing countries such as Qatar and Bahrain on track, India’s gold count would have been bigger.

It was purely for this reason that Hima Das had to be content with a silver in the 200m as she ran alongside Nigerian-born Salwa Eid Naser.

Neeraj Chopra expectedly achieved a super result by becoming the first Indian to win a gold in javelin throw and sprinters Manjit Singh and Jinson Johnson too changed a few statistics with their courageous show.

India’s badminton queens Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu continued to deliver the goods and ensured that the country’s 36-year-old wait for an individual medal ends.

The positives far outweigh the disappointments in few events, and the many firsts and many national records that were broken during the Games provide hope for a bright future.

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Published on September 02, 2018
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