Last Updated: September 19, 2023, 15:54 IST
The 2023 Asian Games is set to start this week and the Indian contingent is preparing for the continent’s biggest sporting extravaganza. India recorded their best-ever medal haul in 2018 and will be looking to reach new heights in Hangzhou, China this time which will officially start on September 23.
Sporting events, including cricket, football, volleyball and beach volleyball, will start on September 19. More than 600 athletes will be representing India across different sporting fields at the Asian Games this year. A few of these talents are almost destined for a podium finish at the upcoming sporting fest.
Let’s take a look at some of India’s brightest medal prospects at the 2023 Asian Games.
Neeraj Chopra will be looking to carry forward his Asian Games 2018 gold medal-winning performance this year. The Indian athlete won first place in Jakarta, Indonesia with a throw of 88.06 metres in 2018. Neeraj garnered the attention of Indian sports fans after securing a gold medal in the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. He went on to secure another first-place finish at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu made her Asian Games debut for India back in 2014 in Incheon. Since then, Chanu has grown to become a sporting sensation, winning two golds and one silver at the 2017 Commonwealth Games. She also secured a World Championship title in 2017 before winning a silver at the Tokyo Olympics. With the presence of Olympic champion Hou Zhihui and the World champion Jiang Huihua at the Asian Games, it might be a little difficult for Chanu to secure a gold medal. She is still expected to claim a podium finish at the Asian Games this year.
Indian Men’s Cricket Team
Led by Ruturaj Gaikwad, the Indian men’s cricket team will be entering Hangzhou as the favourites to secure the gold medal. The team are way ahead of the rest of the competition, featuring some top performers from the Indian Premier League in its roster. Anything less than a gold medal will likely be considered an underwhelming result for the Indian men’s cricket team.
Indian Women’s Cricket Team
The Harmanpreet Kaur-led side is also a serious contender for a podium finish just like their male counterparts. They are currently the best-ranked team in Asia and the seventh-best side in the world. With their last Asian gold coming in 1982, the India women’s cricket team will be eager to secure a first-place finish at Hangzhou.
India Men’s Hockey Team
The India men’s hockey team recently won a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics. They are firm favourites to win gold in Hangzhou. Despite India’s underwhelming track record in the Asian Games, it will be a major disappointment if the Harmanpreet Singh-led side fails to secure the first position this time.