Indian contingent eye more medals at Hangzhou Asian Games

New Delhi, Sep 18 (Agency) The Indian contingent will look to haul a good number of medals at the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, the People’s Republic of China, from September 23 to October 8. India had returned their best-ever medal haul in 2018 Asian Games. The 19th Asian Games will see a 655-member Indian contingent in action in 41 disciplines out of 61. Neeraj Chopra, PV Sindhu and Bajrang Punia will be some of the top Indian stars in Hangzhou. A total of 56 venues will be used in and around Hangzhou with 481 gold medals on offer. The Asian Games officially get underway with the opening ceremony on September 23.

However, cricket, football, volleyball and beach volleyball will start from September 19. The men’s and women’s Indian cricket teams will be making their Asian Games debut. The Indian women’s cricket team will start its campaign on September 21. The final will take place on September 25. Men’s cricket at the Asian Games begins on September 27 with the final scheduled on October 7. The Indian men will start their campaign on October 3. With 68 athletes in track and field, athletics will have India’s largest representation in one sport. Olympic javelin champion Neeraj Chopra will be India’s face at the Asian Games. The 25-year-old is the reigning world champion and will look to repeat his gold medal-winning performance from Jakarta in 2018. Athletics at the Asian Games will be held from September 29 to October 5. The final of the men’s javelin throw at the Asian Games will be on October 4. Neeraj Chopra will be one of the five Olympic medallists from India in action at Hangzhou.

India’s badminton queen PV Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist, boxer Lovlina Borgohain, wrestler Bajrang Punia and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu are also in the fray. The Indian men’s hockey team, the Tokyo 2020 bronze medallists, will also compete. Badminton at Asian Games 2023 will be held from September 28 to October 7. PV Sindhu will lead a 19-member Indian team comprising Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen and HS Prannoy, who won bronze at the BWF World Championships last month. Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Mirabai Chanu, who is also a former world champion, will be making her Asian Games debut in the women’s 49 kg weightlifting division on September 30. Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia, defending champion in men’s 65kg freestyle wrestling, will be in action on October 6. Meanwhile, boxing at the Asian Games 2023 will act as qualifiers for next year’s Paris Olympics. Two-time reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen will start her campaign on September 24 in women’s 50kg while Lovlina Borgohain will begin on September 26 in women’s 75kg. Boxing events conclude on October 5.

Hockey at the Asian Games 2023 will also serve as a qualifier for the Paris 2024 Olympics. The Indian hockey teams will look for an early ticket to next year’s Summer Games by winning gold in Hangzhou. The men’s hockey event at Asian Games kicks off a day before the opening ceremony. The Indian women’s hockey team will open its campaign on September 25, reported. Hurdler Jyothi Yarraji, steeplechaser Avinash Sable, long jumper Murali Sreeshankar, former Asian champion boxer Shiva Thapa, table tennis players Manika Batra, Sharath Kamal and chess prodigy R Praggnanandhaa will be some of the other high profile Indian athletes in action at Hangzhou 2023. Originally slated for 2022, the 19th Asian Games were postponed to 2023 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic in China last year. India sent 570 athletes to the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia. India’s tally of 70 medals, including a haul of 16 gold medals, was the best medal haul by the country in Asian Games history.