India wants the best achievement in history. A 655-member team is being mobilized for that. This is India’s biggest team in the Asian Games. The target is 100 medals. The largest group is in athletics – 68.
India has won 155 gold, 201 silver and 316 bronze medals in the 18 editions of the Asian Games. Out of the total 672 medals, 254 are in athletics. 79 golds were won in track and field. This time 39 out of 40 events are contested. No participation in the new genre of break dancing. Rowing has 33 members. The participation in major events is Shooting 30, Archery 16, Badminton 19 and Swimming 20. There are men’s and women’s teams in cricket, volleyball, basketball, football, hockey and kabaddi. Participating in cricket for the first time.
In athletics last time there were eight gold, nine silver and three bronze. A better performance is expected this time. World and Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra is expected to repeat his gold medal in javelin throw. Kishore Kumar Jena is also contesting. Rajinderpal Singh Tour is the defending champion in shot put. Jeswin Aldrin and M Sreesankar in long jump, Praveen Chitravel and Abdullah Abubakar in triple jump, Ajay Kumar Saroj and Jinsen Johnson in 1500m, Pishla Singh in women’s long jump, Parul Chaudhary and Avinash Sable in steeplechase, Annurani in javelin throw and Jyoti Yaraja in 100m hurdles. R are all medal prospects. The men’s relay team and the mixed relay team, who set an Asian record in the world championships, signal gold.
Chesil is fielding a young team. R Pragnananda, D Gukesh and Arjun Erigaisi are in the ten member team.
There are 40 Malayalis in the Indian team for the Asian Games. 12 in athletics. 10 in volleyball, four in basketball and three each in rowing and badminton. The proud stars are Sajan Prakash in swimming, PR Sreejesh in hockey and Minnumani in cricket.
In the women’s 12-member volley team, eight are Malayalis. HS Prannoy, Tresa Jolly, MR Arjun in Badminton, R Sreekala, Kavita Jose, Pranav Prince and Anu Maria in Basketball. PB Aswathi, KB Varsha, A Archa in rowing, Megha Pradeep and Parvathy in canoeing and Advait Menon in paivanchi will also compete.
Athletics have Mohammad Afzal, Rahul Baby, Mohammad Anas, Mohammad Ajmal and Mijo Chacko Kurien besides M Sreesankar, Abdullah Abubakar and Jinson Johnson. In women, Ansi Sojan, NV Sheena and Jisna Mathew. Athletics chief coach is P Radhakrishnan Nair.
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