India with it’s best-ever medal haul, wind up the 18th Asian games in grace and glory. As the curtains came down on this mega sports carnival held at Jakarta and Palembang, India indeed did a good job but could have done better in many areas. India bagged 15 gold, 24 silver, and 30 bronze together 69 medals, bettering their previous best of 65 medals from Guangzhou 2010. Athletics and Tennis made significant gains whereas there were huge setbacks in hockey and kabaddi- events which held high hopes for Indians.
With 7 gold, 10 silver and 2 bronze athletics stole the show for the Indian sports fans. Since the beginning of the games in 1951, Athletics was one sport in which India shone brightest and this time too it was no surprise that most medals were bagged from this event. Neeraj Chopra (Javelin) and Tajinderpal Singh Toor(shot put) scaled new heights with their stunning performance. Manjit Singh(800 m), Jinson Johnson(1500 m), Arpinder Singh(triple jump) and Swapna Barman(heptathlon) also marked their own special places in the medal hunt of Indian athletics. World under-20 champion, Hima Das with her 400m silver is one teenager to watch out for in the coming days.
The Indian shooters gunned down their own share of medals and proved to be champions once again. Rahi Sarobat(woman’s 25m pistol) and teenager Saurabh Chaudary(men’s 10m air pistol) seized gold while teenagers Lakshay Sheoran and Shardul Vihan proved that they have it in them to make India proud in the future. Despite the potential to win Gold, Manu Bhaker and Anish Bhanwala failed to get going.
India marked history as Achanth Sharath Kamal led the way to bronze in the Table Tennis, the first mixed doubles medal at Asian games in the sport. Boxer Amit Panghal won a stunning triumph over Rio Olympic gold medallist Dusmatov in the light flyweight (49 kg) final.
The biggest low was the kabaddi team of India who surrendered to the Iranian strength who beat the men in semi-finals and women in the finals. Another heartbreaking setback was the men’s hockey team who failed to perform in the semi-finals against Malaysia and crushed the golden dreams of India. Despite having some top rank players, India could not win any gold in Badminton. PV Sindu yet again misses the gold in the finals and Kidambi Sreekanth crashed out in the first round of men’s singles. Star wrestlers, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat bagged gold as expected while Olympic medallists Sakshi Mallik and Sushil Kumar returned empty-handed.
As Indian performance at the Asiad 2018 draws mixed reactions, hopes and dreams are still lingering in the air for a bright and better sports era. Surely the future is more promising than ever before as the rising stars trigger a new passion for sports excellence in India.