Buoyant India eye big medal haul at Asian Games | other | Hindustan Times
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Buoyant India eye big medal haul at Asian Games

other Updated: Nov 12, 2010 11:49 IST

India are hoping to follow their impressive performance at the Commonwealth Games with another big medal haul at the Asian Games in Guangzhou but tougher competition awaits them in China.

India finished eighth in the medals table with 10 golds in the previous Asian Games in Doha four years ago and their second-place finish in Delhi will raise hopes of an improvement at the event which starts on Friday.

"The performance in Delhi has raised our hopes for the upcoming Asian Games," Bhubaneswar Kalita, India's chef-de-mission at the Commonwealth Games, told reporters.

"These are the same athletes who would be in action in Guangzhou and we hope to perform well."

Indian athletes bagged 38 gold medals in Delhi to push England to third place in the medals tally and finish on a high after shambolic preparations threatened to turn the event into a national embarrassment.

But that creditable performance might have its flip-side with many athletes having to find peak form again less than one month later.

Shooting, boxing and wrestling are expected to bring home the bulk of the medals for India in the Nov. 12-27 Games, while kabaddi -- a form of tag which originated in South East Asia -- billiards and chess are also expected to add to the tally.

Gagan Narang, who won four gold medals in Delhi, will lead the shooting team.

The 27-year-old, a double world record holder in air rifle, should give India's medals tally an early boost.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist and women's badminton world number three Saina Nehwal is another hope but will have to overcome fierce competition from the Chinese.

The absence of Leander Paes, who is playing in the doubles at the ATP World Tour Finals in London, will make it tough for India to defend their two tennis gold medals -- from men's doubles and mixed doubles -- won in Doha.

The onus will fall on Somdev Devvarman and glamour girl Sania Mirza to win the singles events.