Asian Games 2018: India match best-ever gold tally
It started with a gold on the wrestling mat for Vinesh Phogat on August 20 and the performance of the Indian athletes got better with each passing day as India finished with 15 gold medals in the 18th edition of the Asian Games held in Jakarta and Palembang. The Indian athletes with this inspired show equaled their best ever gold tally in the games.
The last time India won 15 gold medals at the Asian Games was in the inaugural edition in 1951 when the event was held in New Delhi. Back then, India had finished second in the medals table behind Japan with 51 medals.
On the eve of the Indian contingent’s departure, sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had asked the athletes and officials to behave responsibly on and off the field during the Asian Games and also wished them luck.
“It is a matter of great pride you (athletes) are representing the country in the Games and you have earned this privilege. When you take part in the Games and when you stay in the Games Village, you will lose your individual identity and your identity there is just one name that is ‘India’,” Rathore said at the send-off ceremony of the Indian contingent organised by the Indian Olympic Association in Delhi.
“It is a big responsibility for you. Whatever you do on the field and off the field, please remember one thing that you are representing a billion strong nation. You have to act with responsibility. Whether it is the athletes or officials, everybody should remember this all the time,” he added.
The athletes and officials ensured that it was just their performance on the field of play that got spoken about. Neeraj Chopra, India’s flag-bearer at the event, lived up to his billing and won gold in Javelin with a throw of 88.06m. The 20-year-old has been on the rise and had also won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast earlier this year.
With this impressive show, Chopra has shown that his career is definitely on the right path. He has age on his side and if he continues to progress the way he has, an Olympic medal can’t be ruled out in the near future.
The Indians will be returning home with their best medal haul in athletics since the 1978 Bangkok games and third-best overall. In the track and field events alone, India picked 19 medals (7xGold, 10xSilver, 2xBronze). Jinson Johnson was the best performer with one gold and one silver while the likes of Tajinderpal Singh Toor and Swapna Barman also put in performances worthy of snatching the headlines.
Not to forget Hima Das and Dutee Chand. They led the show on the tracks and showed signs that they can with the right guidance go on and make a name for themselves on the world stage as well. All in all, it was a complete show from the Indian contingent and one that the whole nation is bound to be proud of.