With the Asian Games beginning in China, expectations from the Indian team are on an all time high after the euphoric showing at the commonwealth games. But while confidence is riding high in the Indian arena, the challenges set at China are pretty different from what it was in India during CWG 2010.
The major obstacle for Indian sportsmen in China will be China itself. It is a strong country when it comes to sports and with them getting the home ground advantage this time, things are only looking sunnier for China and a tad bit worrying for India. There are also the other Asian countries to consider like Japan, Korea and Kazakhstan which can steal some good shooting medals from India.
The Sports Authority of India rather surprisingly has predicted that the 843 member team India will win probably 74 to 108 medals in the Guangzhou Asian Games 2010. It is a good figure to dream about but will reality be as sweet? Let us just keep our fingers crossed.
A more realistic goal would be to hope that because of the confidence wave the Indian sportsmen are riding on right now, hopefully they would better their performance compared to the Doha Asian Games when India won 53 medals .Let us again keep our fingers crossed that this target is at least achieved.
A key factor that predictors fail to see is the strain on the players. Barely a month has passed between the CWG and the Asian Games. The recovery time for players to compete at such a big arena is short and hopefully the strain will not dampen their performance in China.
The games that we can surely rely on this time are –shooting, badminton, tennis, wrestling, boxing and archery. Also not forgetting the two events that were not part of CWG 2010 – kabaddi and chess.
Here is a look at India’s chances in the individual games,
Tennis – A little bad luck for India this time is that Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes will not be part of team India as they are in London right now for the world’s doubles final round. So India will only rely on the young and dynamic Somdev Devvarman for the medal.
Chess – Koneru Humpy had helped India win two gold medals in Doha asian Games. However as expected in the beaurcratic world of sports in India, she did not get any communication from the All India Chess Federation regarding her participation and therefore will not be there in the team this time! Despite that chess has always been our strong point and hopefully India will make the right moves.
Wrestling – Sushil Kumar is battleing a shoulder injury and therefore out of the Asian games but other wrestlers will surely shine the way they did in Delhi.
Boxing – Vijendar Singh is a man on a mission and he hope to erase the nightmares of the CWG. Other boxers like Suronjoy Singh, Manoj Kumar etc. ware all basking in the glory of their gold medals in CWG and will surely want to repeat their success.
Shooting – The shooters have already opened the medal tally for India today with a silver medal in 10m rifles. With Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Ronjan Sodhi, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Asher Noria, Vijay Kumar, Omkar Singh and Tejaswini Sawant all participating, it only becomes clear that this masters will prove their mettle in China too.
Badminton – Saina Nehwal – the name that is being uttered the most nowadays by every sports fan of India will want to work her wonders in China too. Not to forget the other strong badminton players of India- Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponappa, Chetan Anand.
Kabbadi – India has a record of winning the Gold at all Asian games and this year too will hopefully be no different. The women’s kabaddi team is competing for the first time in Asian Games and it is almost certain that they would help the Indian flag flying high in China.
Indian sports have created quite a flutter in recent times. There are many world champions in our team and the CWG success has only shown that even our so-called weak areas like athletics can shine if given the chance and the professional training. If India makes its mark at Guangzhou Asian Games, it would be the greatest glory of all times. It is a dream worth believing in.