Asian Games: Five Performances That Defined India's Record-breaking Campaign
As the 2018 Asian Games draw to an end, there’s plenty Indian fans have to be hopeful about. Medals have been won and records have been broken by our athletes, many of who are under the age of 23, which is hugely optimistic in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Men's 800m Gold medalist Manjit Singh at the medal ceremony during the 18th Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang 2018, in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Image: PTI)
As the 2018 Asian Games draw to an end, there’s plenty Indian fans have to be hopeful about. Medals have been won and records have been broken by our athletes, many of who are under the age of 23, which is hugely optimistic in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Here’s a recap of some of the most memorable performances from the last two weeks:
1. AMIT PANGHAL, BOXING, GOLD
Don’t go by his tiny frame, because Amit Panghal can hit a frightful punch or two that can beat the best in the business. On the penultimate day of the competition, the 22 year old outpunched the Olympic champion and World No. 1 Hasanboy Dusmatov in the 49kg weight category to win India’s only boxing gold. Swift punches, quick footwork, vicious hooks – Panghal brought on his A game to the ring and put on a show to remember. Few Indian boxers in recent times have dominated their opponents with such high level of boxing as Panghal did in a bout where he went in as an underdog.
2. MANJIT SINGH, 800m, GOLD
After just about managing to qualify for the 800m, Manjit Singh literally made it from nowhere to the top of the podium, as he went past the leaders in the race, the Qataris and his compatriot Jinson Johnson, to reach the finish line, after lagging behind for most of the race. A superbly strategized race in which Singh pulled out his hidden energy reserves when the rest of the pack almost finishing theirs, gave India an unexpected gold medallist, and the first in the event since 1982.
3. DUTEE CHAND, 100m, SILVER
In her pet event, the 100m, Dutee Chand, all of 5 feet, ran the race of her life, as she took off the blocks like a bullet and flew to the finish line, missing out on gold by 0.02 seconds. Given her fight with the establishment for the last four years just to be able to run, there was more than just a silver medal that Chand won. What makes it more significant is that the medal comes in a short sprint, which is traditionally not something India has known to excel in since the times when PT Usha scorched the track.
4. RAHI SARNOBAT, Shooting, GOLD
The Kolhapur girl became the first Indian woman shooter to win an Asian Games gold medal when she won the 25m Air Pistol event after a double shoot off against Thailand’s Naphaswan Yangpaiboon. In what was a dramatic final, the scores were tied, leading to a five shot series to decide the winner. It took a second series of five shots to have a winner with a Games record. Coming off a serious elbow injury, and in a final that needed nerves of steel, this is undoubtedly the biggest moment of Rahi’s career.
5. SWAPNA BARMAN, Heptathlon, GOLD
At No. 5 is the 21 year old who competed in seven events over two days in excruciating toothache to give India a historic gold - Swapna Barman. For Barman, who has to squeeze in her six toes in shoes meant for five, every landing is painful, and the toothache just added to the challenge. But it wasn’t enough to stop her from getting into the history books, and hopefully in the knowledge of sponsors.
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