The 18th Asian Games or Jakarta Palembang 2018 Asian Games is currently underway in Indonesia so far, and the performance of the Indian contingent is keenly followed by fans and media alike back home. After three days of action so far in the games in various disciplines, India managed to reach double figures in the medals tally (Total of 10 - 3 Gold, 3 Silver and 4 Bronze) courtesy shooter Saurav Chaudhary, wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia. While, there have been hits and misses like you would associate with any sports meet, the Indian performance too has been on similar lines. While it is early days in the Asian Games and difficult to gauge the performance but the early newsmakers have popped up on the scene for India. Asian Games Medal Tally 2018 Updated: Wrestler Divya Kakran Wins Bronze Medal, India’s Medal Tally 10 in Current Table and Country-Wise Medal Standings.
Let us list out these newsmakers and look back at their performance at in Indonesia.
HIT! Saurabh Chaudhary ( Shooting): A 16-year-old farmer’ son winning a gold for India in 10m pistol sounds every bit a stuff straight out of a Bollywood flick, but that indeed is Saurabh Chaudhary’s life. Chaudhary aggregated 240.7 and finished above a man twenty-six years his senior in Japan’s Tomoyuki Matsuda on the penultimate shot. The Japanese finishing on 239.7 while India’s Abhishek Verma won bronze with 219.3. Saurabh Chaudhary Wins Gold, Abhishek Verma Gets Bronze Medal for India in Men's 10m Air Pistol Event at 2018 Asian Games.
HIT! Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling): Vinesh Phogat created history by becoming the first Indian wrestler to win a gold medal at the Asian Games. She defeated Japan’s Yuki Irie in the 50 Kg category 6-2 in what was fairly one-sided encounter. The win was a prize for the efforts the wrestler has put in overcoming the dark periods where injuries tormented her. Vinesh Phogat Becomes First Indian Woman to Win Gold Medal in Wrestling at Asian Games.
MISS! Sushil Kumar (Wrestling): The biggest shocker at the Asian games so far has been the first round exit of two times Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar. The veteran wrestler went down 5-3 to Bahrain’s Adam Batirov in a game he lead 2-0 at the break. But post the interval, the Sushil could not grapple with the intensity of his opponent and failed to create clear-cut openings. After the match, Sushil Kumar spoke about his disappointment at the loss and hinted he would come back strong which is something of a question mark considering he is 35. Asian Games 2018: Wrestler Sushil Kumar Crashes Out in First Round of Freestyle 74 kg Category.
HIT! Bajrang Punia (Wrestling): With Sushil Kumar bowing out in the first round, it was Bajrang Punia who kept the pride of wrestling intact in Indonesia clinching India’s first gold medal in the 65 kg wrestling category. The 24-year-old Haryana lad defeated Japan’s Takatani Daichi 11-8 in the final to become an instant hero getting praised from movie stars to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Bajrang Punia Wins First 2018 Asian Games Gold Medal for India: Wrestler Beats Daichi Takatani 11–8 in Men’s Freestyle 65kg Category.
MISS! Sakshi Malik (Wrestling): The 2016 Olympics Bronze winner failed to shine at the event despite being in good form and one of the leading gold medal hopefuls of India. Malik, who had lost the semi-final bout to Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova 8-7 met North Korea’s Rim Jong Sim 12-2 to return home empty-handed. The manner of her Bronze medal match defeat must be pretty disappointing for all her fans considering she is one of world’s best in the 62kg freestyle wrestling.
MISS! Saina Nehwal (Badminton): Saina Nehwal’s loss to Nozomi Okura of Japan knocked India out of the Women’s Badminton Team event in the Asian Games. India was always going to struggle against a strong Japanese team, but a win for PV Sindhu against world no 1 Akane Yamaguchi raised hopes of an improbable, but the joy was cut short when Saina Nehwal went down 11-21 25-23 16-21 in a match lasting 1 hour 11 minutes. Saina Nehwal’s Bitter Loss Sinks India in 2018 Asian Games Women’s Team Badminton Quarter-Finals.
HIT! Indian Team ( Sepak Takraw Regu): A sport with a very little following in India gave the country a bronze medal when the Indian Sepak Takraw Regu team won a bronze medal in the Asiad. India lost the semi-final match to Thailand 2-0 but were awarded a bronze as both the losing semi-finalist are eligible for a bronze medal. The win is a watershed moment for the sports in India and will only gain in popularity. Sepak Takraw, India Won Its First-Ever Medal in This Traditional Southeast Asian ‘Kick Volleyball’ Event at Asian Games 2018: Know What the Sport Is?
HIT! Deepak Kumar ( Shooting): India’s Deepak Kumar scored 247.7 to win a silver in the 10m rifle shooting event. Battling issues with anxiety and depression, the ace shooter had thought about quitting the sport a year back but an expert guidance by Dr Patrick j Cohn, president of Peak Performance Sports in Orlando, helped the Air Force sergeant find his rhythm back, and there has been no looking back since.
HIT! Ravi Kumar and Apurvi Chandela (Shooting): The opening medal is always special for any country competing in an event, and this joy was brought upon us by Ravi Kumar, and Apurvi Chandela won bronze in the 10m Air Rifle mixed team finishing with 429.9 points in the 48 shot final. India Clinches First Medal at Asian Games 2018, Shooters Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar Win Bronze in 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team Final.
As the games progress, more and more athletes are likely to feature on our list of newsmakers as the Indian athletes look to bring in the laurels for the country.