572 sportspersons. 69 medal winners. 8th Asiad position.
In perhaps one of the biggest, recent wins of the Indian youth, the Asian Games 2018, held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, witnessed a spectacular 572-member Indian delegation that had at least 200 sportspersons who were less than 23 years of age. And in a tally that is considerably impressive, India boasts of 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze medals this year!
Clearly, the 18th Asian Game was a roller coaster ride, resulting in many lessons learnt, successes celebrated, and potential strategies devised.
But the spectacular thing, about this crowning glory event of Asia that showcases a fine display of the continent’s sportsman spirit, was that it had a number of medals won by relatively lesser known Indian youngsters.
Some popular names from this year’s continental multi-sports event are – 20.5-year-old Neeraj Chopra (gold in the Javelin throw), 21 year old Swapna Barman (heptathlon gold) as well 25 year Arpinder Singh (gold in the triple jump). Then there is also 23-year-old Tajinderpal Singh Toor who won the shot put with a new record and 22-year-old Amit Pangal’s who defeated Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov in the light fly weight category. Vinesh Phogat also won a gold in women 50 kg freestyle.
These are just to name a few brave hearts who made the nation proud. Asian Games 2018 saw some significant and much awaited developments as well. One such noteworthy development was that shooting in India finally freed itself from the clutches of the aristocrat and wealthy and became more egalitarian and successful.
This year also saw an incredible rise in the commitment towards sports both by the supporting NGOs as well as the players.
NGOs like Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), JSW and Go Sports Foundation went out of their way to ensure the best facilities for talented sportspersons.
Many sportspersons also received regular financial assistance, for training, under the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme.
Similarly, players like Vinesh, displayed exceptional commitment towards her sport by postponing her marriage to concentrate better on her game and win laurels for her country.
Despite cut-throat competition and ever-changing techniques, the youth of India managed the best-ever medal haul at an Asiad this year.
The games saw India create history through new national records and register some spectacular firsts.
In all, Asian Games 2018 saw India becoming an exceptional land of self-motivated, young sportspersons, for the world to take inspiration from!