By Prarthana Mitra
Slated to kick off on August 18 in Indonesia, this edition added eight new sports to the existing 28 disciplines with strong competition from most participating nations. With a 524-strong contingent participating in all 36 disciplines, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) too is aiming for a good haul of medals, showing particularly great hope and promise in athletics, badminton, table tennis and hockey.
Female athletes to watch out for
Athletics will have the highest number of representation with 52 sprinters, walkers, jumpers and throwers coveting the medals in their respective fields.
23 men and 28 women were handpicked by the Athletics Federation of India to represent the country at the most prestigious athletics meet in Asia. Pushing the most deserving athletes to prepare them for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the contingent includes India’s first female gold medalist in the World U-20 Athletics Championships Hima Das, bronze medallist at the previous Asian Games Dutee Chand, and their strongest competitor Nirmala Sheroan.
Kerala’s Tintu Luka who won silver at the 2014 Games is awaiting final confirmation on her qualification, as she recently suffered a heel injury. In women’s long jump, Nayana James will be trying to do one better than the bronze she won last time, along with compatriot Neena Pinto.
Seema Punia in discuss throw and Sudha Singh in steeplechase are some of the other athletes to watch out for.
Shooters and shuttlers have historically fared well
Other disciplines where India stands a good chance of winning are archery, boxing, gymnastics, kabaddi, karate, shooting, tennis, weightlifting and wrestling. 20 Indian shuttlers including world champions K. Srikanth, P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Ashwini Ponappa will be representing India, in a bid to win more than the women’s bronze India managed to clinch in 2014.
However, many on the list still have to undergo confirmatory trials before their presence in Jakarta is secure. The IOA also recently came under fire for disqualifying India’s football teams, both men and women’s, for the 2018 Asian Games.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius
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