Published By: Ritayan Basu
Last Updated: September 19, 2023, 19:23 IST
As the Asian Games gets underway on September 19, Indian athletes are determined to wave the tri-colour high at the 19th edition of the continental event. The city of Hangzhou in the People’s Republic of China will host the event till October 8. From javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra to long jumper Murali Sreeshankar, a total of 655 high-profile names from India will be competing across different disciplines at the Hangzhou Games. At the previous 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, 570 Indian athletes participated in 36 different sports.
Though the number of Indian participants has seen a significant spike this year, there are several big names who will not be seen in action in Hangzhou.
Let’s take a look at the top five Indian athletes who are going to miss the 2023 Asian Games:
After securing a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Vinesh Poghat replicated the feat at the Asian Games in the same year, finishing atop the podium in the women’s 50kg category. Thanks to the triumph, Poghat was awarded a direct entry into this year’s campaign. But she had to pull her name out of the 19th Asian Games due to an unfortunate knee injury sustained in training. Poghat had undergone surgery in Mumbai earlier on August 17. She needs some more time to become fully fit.
The former Indian captain, Rani Rampal, will not be part of the women’s hockey team at the Hangzhou Games. Since making her debut in the Blue jersey in 2009, Rampal has netted a total of 120 international goals. Due to long-standing injury issues, Rampal failed to feature in two important events last year– the FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. She last took the field against South Africa in January this year.
Hima Das hogged the limelight after securing a gold medal at the 2018 IAAF World U-20 Championships. The ace Indian sprinter will miss the 2023 Asia Games owing to a hamstring injury that she suffered earlier in April. Das registered a second-place finish in the women’s 400m race at the previous edition of the Asiad. She was also part of India’s gold-medalist women’s team in the 4x400m relay race. Das won another silver in the mixed 4x400m relay race.
Amit Panghal was the only boxer from India to clinch a gold medal at the previous Asian Games. But he will not defend his title in Hangzhou following a poor performance at the selection trials. Deepak Bhoria has replaced him in the seven-member Indian men’s boxing squad. The snub came as a shock for Panghal who appealed to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The athlete complained that his trials were biased but his claims were dismissed.
Sourabh Choudhury is the youngest shooter from India to secure a gold medal at the Asian Games, having achieved the feat in the 2018 edition. Choudhury won the opening round of the national selection trials for the 2023 Games. But he finished in eighth place after six rounds of trials. Choudhury also failed to make the cut to India’s shooting team for the ISSF World Championship, which was held in Baku last month.