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  Opinion   Edit  09 Oct 2023  AA Edit | Sporting excellence does India proud: Asian Games

AA Edit | Sporting excellence does India proud: Asian Games

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Oct 10, 2023, 12:05 am IST
Updated : Oct 10, 2023, 12:05 am IST

India finished fourth on the medals table, marking a significant leap of four places from the previous edition.

Flag-bearer PR Sreejesh leads the Indian contingent during the closing ceremony of the 19th Asian Games at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, in Hangzhou, China, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)
 Flag-bearer PR Sreejesh leads the Indian contingent during the closing ceremony of the 19th Asian Games at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, in Hangzhou, China, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)

The unprecedented achievement of winning over 100 medals at the recently concluded Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, has filled the nation with immense pride. Indian athletes defied expectations, shattered records, and firmly established themselves as a formidable force in the Asian sporting scene by securing 107 medals (28 gold, 38 silver and 41 bronze).

Not many expected India to cross the three-figure mark, considering the best-ever tally was 70 medals in Jakarta five years ago. India finished fourth on the medals table, marking a significant leap of four places from the previous edition.

While China maintained their undisputed supremacy at the top, the stark contrast between their 201 gold medals and second-placed Japan’s 188 total medals underscores the huge chasm between the leaders and the rest in the continent.

China does play an active role in supporting the sporting system and India, which has come some way towards aiding sportspeople to achieve, can do more by way of infrastructure and aid to athletes beyond performance incentives.

The Indian contingent’s medal tally was bolstered by three sporting disciplines: track and field, yielding 29 medals, including six gold; shooting, contributing 22 medals, including seven gold; and archery nine medals, an impressive five of which were gold. Collectively, these three sports accounted for over half of India’s total count.

What truly stands out is the spectacular spread of medallists across 22 different sports, ranging from equestrian to wushu and rowing to roller-skating. This diversity underscores the rapid strides made by Indians in recent years, demonstrating their proficiency and success in various domains.

Furthermore, the distribution of medals among genders was remarkably equitable, with 52 medals earned by male athletes, 46 by female athletes and the remaining medals in mixed events. Indian athletes relentlessly pushed their limits, embodying the spirit of ‘New India’ that strives for excellence. Throughout the 15-day extravaganza, they dispelled any notion that they were mere participants in China.

It’s no secret that many sporting federations in India are entangled in internal disputes and legal battles. The journey of the athletes in scaling new heights has been anything but smooth, a myriad of challenges being strewn in their path.

Notably, the wushu athletes from Arunachal Pradesh faced visa complications, preventing their participation, much against the spirit of encouraging open sport. Additionally, instances of biased refereeing and subjective decisions elicited frustration among top athletes, including Neeraj Chopra. Nevertheless, these athletes displayed remarkable composure and resilience in surmounting these obstacles.

The men’s hockey gold may have offered nostalgic glimpses into past glory. As the dust settles on this historic achievement, the real challenge now lies ahead of athletes, officials, federations and the sports ministry. It is imperative that the processes initiated for this success are seamlessly continued, leading up to the Paris Olympics, and without any disruptions.

India have often faced hurdles in translating their success in events like the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games onto the global stage, and the path forward necessitates meticulous planning and absolute support if Indian athletes are to stamp their presence in the Olympics, which like the world championships in different sports is the ultimate test of sporting excellence.

Tags: asian games, aa edit, hangzhou asian games