India’s path to Paris 2024 excellence begins with 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou
India’s pursuit of Olympic success in Paris 2024 starts at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, offering a chance to assess preparations and secure Olympic berths.
India’s ambitious pursuit of achieving double-digit medals in the Paris Olympic Games in 2024 starts with a crucial test at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, officially commencing this Saturday.
The 2022 Asian Games were postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, aligning them with the Olympic Games’ qualifying period for all sports. This synchronization provides Indian athletes with opportunities to secure their spots in the upcoming Olympics in France.
Many Indian sports, including men’s and women’s hockey, table tennis, and boxing, will witness athletes striving for Olympic qualifications during the Hangzhou Games.
With substantial investments from the Central Government to realize Olympic excellence, India has high hopes of achieving its best-ever medal count at the Hangzhou Asian Games. India’s previous best performance at this continental event was 70 medals in Indonesia back in 2018.
Indian athletes, led by prominent figures like Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra in javelin throw, two-time World Champion boxer Nikhat Zareen, Olympic bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain in boxing, and others, approach the Hangzhou Asian Games with determination. They aim to challenge Asian powerhouses like China, Japan, South Korea, and Iran and secure a top-five finish, in addition to eyeing their first gold medal since 2014.
The Indian men’s hockey team, besides seeking a gold medal, aspires to earn a direct Paris Olympics berth with a victory in Hangzhou. The women’s hockey team, captained by goalkeeper Savita Punia, aims not only to qualify for Paris 2024 but also to secure their first Asian Games gold since 1982, the year women’s hockey made its debut in the event.
In the past, the women’s hockey team clinched the title once and secured silver and bronze medals multiple times. The team also finished fourth on several occasions.
India has a total of 671 medals across 19 editions of the Asian Games, including 155 gold, 200 silver, and 316 bronze medals. The Ministry of Youth Affairs, the Sports Authority of India (SAI), and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) aspire to significantly increase this tally in Hangzhou, with hopes of crossing the 100-medal mark.
India anticipates most of its medals to come from athletics, shooting, boxing, wrestling, tennis, rowing, and sailing.
Esports makes its debut as a medal sport in Hangzhou, and chess returns to the Games for the first time since 2010. India also aims to secure medals in badminton, squash, table tennis, taekwondo, judo, wushu, and equestrian events.
India has sent a substantial contingent of 921, including 655 athletes and 260 coaches and support staff.
While competitions have already begun in various sports, the official medal hunt starts on September 24. Shooters are expected to provide India’s first medals at the event.
In addition to pursuing medals, India’s successful performance at Hangzhou could enhance its chances of hosting the Asian Games for the third time in the near future, following the 1951 and 1982 editions.
The outcome of India’s journey in Hangzhou, as a stepping stone towards Paris 2024 excellence and future Asian Games hosting, will be revealed on October 8 when the 19th Asian Games conclude.